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Randolph v. United States

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

January 30, 2019

UNIQUE RANDOLPH, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          OPINION

          ANNE E. THOMPSON United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Petitioner Unique Randolph ("Petitioner") moves to vacate, correct, or set aside his federal sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (ECF No. 1.) Respondent, the United States of America, opposes the motion. (ECF No. 10.) For the reasons stated herein, Petitioner's motion is denied, and no certificate of appealability will issue.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On May 5, 2014, Petitioner pled guilty to one count of knowing and purposeful robbery under the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), and one count of knowing use of firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and aiding and abetting the same, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii), (2). United States v. Randolph, Crim. No. 13-349, ECF Nos. 66, 68. As part of the plea agreement, Petitioner and the Government stipulated to certain facts underlying the charges. (ECF No. 10-1, at 7.) Specifically, the parties agreed that

a. On or about January 16, 2013, [Petitioner] and a coconspirator entered the T-Mobile Store in Paramus, New Jersey, with the intent to physically restrain store employees and then rob the store of electronic merchandise.
b. Before [Petitioner] entered the T-Mobile Store in Paramus, New Jersey, it was reasonably foreseeable to [him] that his coconspirator would possess and brandish a firearm during the course of the robbery.
c. After entering the T-Mobile Store in Paramus, New Jersey, [Petitioner] tied up three store employees, one customer, and a UPS deliveryman, while his coconspirator held the victims at gunpoint. [Petitioner] and the coconspirator then stole numerous electronic items from the T-Mobile Store and fled in a get-away vehicle driven by a third coconspirator.

(id.)

         On July 27, 2015, this Court sentenced Petitioner to a 48-month term of imprisonment on the robbery charge and an 84-month term on the use of a firearm during a crime of violence charge, for a total sentence of 132 months. (ECF No. 10-3, at 3.) Petitioner did not file a direct appeal.

         On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court struck down the residual clause in the definition of "violent felony" in the Armed Career Criminal Act ("ACCA") as unconstitutionally vague. Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 2557 (2015). On April 18, 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that Johnson applies retroactively on collateral review. Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257, 1268 (2016). Petitioner thereafter filed the instant motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on May 20, 2016, challenging his conviction for use of a firearm during a crime of violence. (ECF No. 1.) Pursuant to a standing order issued by Chief Judge Simandle on June 23, 2016, this matter was stayed for a 150-day period. See Standing Order 16-2, http://www.njd.uscourts.gov /sites/njd/files/Johnson.pdf. On November 17, 2017, the Government filed its Answer, arguing that Petitioner's conviction is not affected by Johnson. (ECF No. 10.)

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Section 2255 provides in relevant part that

[a] prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States . . . may move the court which ...

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