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Lassiter v. United States

United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage

September 4, 2019

JAMES LASSITER, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          OPINION

          Renée Marie Bumb, United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         James Lassiter (“Petitioner”) moves to vacate, correct, or set aside his federal sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (ECF No. 1.) The United States of America (“Respondent”) opposes the motion. (ECF No. 5.) For the reasons discussed herein, this Court will deny Petitioner's motion as time-barred. No. certificate of appealability shall issue.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On August 10, 2004, Petitioner pled guilty to one count of armed bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and (d). (ECF No. 1 at 1.) Petitioner had previously been convicted of two New Jersey crimes: aggravated assault in 1994 and robbery in 1993. (Id. at 2.) On November 12, 2004, Petitioner was sentenced to 216 months in prison per the career offender provision of the then-mandatory United States Sentencing Guidelines. (Id. at 1.) Based on the Guidelines, Petitioner faced a sentencing range of 188 to 235 months' imprisonment. (Id.) Had he not been designated as a career offender, that range would have been 168 to 210 months' imprisonment. (Id.) Petitioner did not appeal his conviction or sentence. (ECF No. 5 at 3.)

         On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court decided Johnson v. United States. 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). Johnson, which will be discussed in more detail below, held that the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) was unconstitutionally vague. Id. at 2563. In 2016, the Supreme Court held that Johnson was retroactively applicable on collateral review. Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257, 1264 (2016).

         Petitioner filed the present motion on June 10, 2016. (ECF No. 1 at 46.) Petitioner contends that the motion was timely because it was filed within one year of Johnson, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(3). (Id.) Petitioner contends that Johnson applies here because the residual clause of the ACCA, which Johnson invalidated, is identical to the residual clause of the Sentencing Guidelines. (Id. at 2.) For the reasons outlined below, this Court rejects Petitioner's argument and denies the present motion as time-barred.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Section 2255 permits a federal prisoner to attack the validity of their conviction or sentence “upon the ground that [it] 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 (2018). The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) imposes a one-year limitation within which a § 2255 motion must be filed. See id.

         The limitation period shall run from the latest of-

(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final;
(2) the date on which the impediment to making a motion created by governmental action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the movant was prevented from making a motion by such governmental action;
(3) the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(4) the date on which the facts supporting the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the ...

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