United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
ORDER ON MOTION FOR RELIEF UNDER 28 U.S.C. §
R. ADAMS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon Petitioner Donaze Gaines'
Motion for Relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Doc. #49). For
the reasons stated, the petition is DENIED.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
prevail under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, a defendant must show a
‘fundamental defect' in the proceedings which
necessarily results in a complete miscarriage of justice or
an egregious error violative of due process.” Gall
v. United States, 21 F.3d 107, 109 (6th Cir. 1994). A
federal district court may grant relief to a prisoner in
custody only if the petitioner can “demonstrate the
existence or influence on the guilty plea or the jury's
verdict.” Griffin v. United States, 330 F.3d
733, 736 (6th Cir. 2003).
Gaines argues that he is entitled to resentencing because he
no longer has the requisite predicate offenses to support an
armed career criminal designation under the Armed Career
Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e) (the
“ACCA”). He also argues that he does not qualify
as a career offender under the Guidelines. This Court
Gaines was indicted in 2002 on charges of possession with
intent to distribute cocaine base (crack) in violation of 21
U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(B) (Count 1), and
with being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of
18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(e) (Count 2). After
a remand to the trial court to reconsider Mr. Gaines'
original sentence in light of United States v.
Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), the trial court found Mr.
Gaines to be a career offender and an armed career criminal,
and sentenced him to 300 months incarceration. Mr. Gaines
appealed. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the judgment. Mr.
Gaines' petition for writ of certiorari was denied.
Gaines then filed a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255
raising a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, among
other things. The district court denied the motion to vacate
and declined to issue a certificate of appealability.
appeal, the Sixth Circuit granted a limited certificate of
appealability. The district court's judgment was
affirmed. The Supreme Court denied Mr. Gaines' petition
for writ of certiorari.
before this Court is Mr. Gaines' second motion to vacate
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In this petition, Mr. Gaines
asserts that, after Johnson v. United States, ___
U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), he is improperly classified
as either an armed career criminal or a career offender. For
the reasons that follow, this Court disagrees.
Court first addresses Mr. Gaines' claim that he was
improperly sentenced as an armed career criminal under the
ACCA. The ACCA establishes a 15-year mandatory minimum
sentence for a criminal defendant charged as a felon in
possession of a firearm who had at least 3 prior convictions
that are either (1) serious drug offenses or (2) violent
felonies. 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). A violent felony had three
different possible definitions:
(1) an offense that “has as an element the use,
attempted use, or threatened use of physical force”
(the “elements clause”);
(2) generic “burglary, arson, or extortion” (the
“enumerated offenses clause”); and
(3) an offense that “otherwise involves conduct that
presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to
another ” ...