United States District Court, D. New Jersey
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.
matter comes before the Court on pro se Petitioner
Samuel Boynes' 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion for
post-conviction relief. No oral argument was held. For the
reasons stated below, Petitioner's motion is
DENIED as time-barred.
November 10, 2015, pursuant to a written plea agreement and
with the assistance of counsel, Petitioner pled guilty to a
two-count information of (1) possession with intent to
distribute heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§
841(a), (b)(1)(C) and (2) being a felon in possession of a
firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). In
accepting the plea agreement, Petitioner agreed to waive his
right to appeal and to collaterally attack the conviction and
sentence. Def.'s Plea Agreement at 3, 6, 7, ECF. No 18.
With a criminal history category VI, the Sentencing
Guidelines (“Guidelines”) called for a range of
110 to 137 months. But although he received credit for
acceptance of responsibility, with two state felony drug
convictions for possession with intent to distribute a
controlled substance in a school zone, Petitioner's two
prior convictions met the Guidelines' career offender
criteria. This career offender classification enhanced
Petitioner's sentencing range to 151 to 188 months.
6, 2016, the Court accepted Petitioner's guilty plea and
sentenced him to 100 months' imprisonment, to run
concurrently. This sentence fell below the recommended
Guidelines ranges for both a career and non-career offender.
Petitioner did not file a direct appeal.
22, 2017, Petitioner filed this motion challenging his
sentence, asserting three grounds for relief. First, that he
was incorrectly sentenced as a career offender under the
Guidelines because the predicate drug offenses were not
aggravated felonies. Second, in light of the Supreme
Court's decision in Mathis v. United States, 138
S.Ct. 2243 (2016), that he is “actually innocent”
of the Guidelines' Section 4B1.1 career offender
enhancement. Finally, in noting the untimely filing of this
petition, Petitioner argues Mathis rescues his
motion from being time-barred because the Supreme Court
created new constitutional law that was previously
unavailable and now has retroactive application to cases on
collateral attack. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(3).
28 U.S.C. § 2255, a federal court may vacate, set aside
or correct a sentence “upon the ground that the
sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws
of the United States, or that the court was without
jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence
was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is
otherwise subject to collateral attack.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255(a). While a court may convene an evidentiary
hearing, no hearing is required “when ‘the files
and records of the case conclusively show that the prisoner
is entitled to no relief.'” United States v.
Padilla-Castro, 426 Fed.Appx. 60, 63 (3d Cir. 2011)
(quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b)); accord United States
v. Day, 969 F.2d 39, 41-42 (3d Cir. 1992). As here, it
is court policy to give pro se habeas motions a
“liberal construction.” Rainey v.
Varner, 603 F.3d 189, 198 (3d Cir. 2010) (citation
Government acknowledged but refused to address the timeliness
of Petitioner's motion because, in any event, the claim
was “utterly meritless.” ECF No. 4, Pg. 3 n.2.
Despite this move, the Court will speak to the procedural
issue because the petition was filed after the one-year
statute of limitations and Mathis provides no relief
to permit its untimely filing.
defendant, as here, has one year to file a Section 2255
motion, with the limitations period beginning on “the
date on which the judgment of conviction becomes
final.” 28 U.S.C. §§ 2255(f), (f)(1). With no
appeal taken, on May 23, 2016, the conviction became final
and the one-year clock began to run. See Kapral v. United
States, 166 F.3d 565, 577 (3d Cir. 1999). Thus,
Petitioner had one year, or until May 23, 2017, to seek
habeas corpus relief.
on June 22, 2017, Petitioner filed this motion. In noting the
untimely filing, Petitioner argues Mathis rescues
the motion from being time-barred because the Supreme Court
recognized new constitutional law and gave it retroactive
effect. See 28 U.S.C. §
2255(f)(3). The Court disagrees.
Supreme Court neither recognized new constitutional law nor
gave it retroactive effect to cases on collateral review,
Petitioner's reliance on Mathis misses the
mark. See Holt v. United States, 843
F.3d 720, 722 (7th Cir. 2016). Mathis addressed a
narrow statutory interpretation issue of whether a state
burglary conviction could enhance a defendant's sentence
as a violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act
(“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). 136 S.Ct. at
2248-49. The Court clarified that “we have repeatedly
made clear that application of ACCA involves, and involves
only, comparing elements.” Id. at 2257. This
has been the law for over a quarter century. See Id.
Thus, in failing to appeal the imposed sentence within 14
days to our Circuit and failing to file this petition within
one year after the federal conviction became final, the Court
finds the petition time-barred.
even if filed on time, Petitioner's claim fails on the
merits because the Court sentenced him to 100 months, a
sentence that fell below both the career and non-career
offender advisory Guidelines ranges. In not sentencing
Petitioner as a career offender, the record negates