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United States v. Akili

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio

February 27, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
MTU AKILI, Defendant.

          OPINION & ORDER [Resolving Docs. 144, 145]

          JAMES S. GWIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Defendant Mtu Akili seeks to be resentenced under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b).[1]Akili also moves for appointment of counsel to assist him with his Rule 60(b) motion.[2]

         For the following reasons, the Court TRANSFERS Akili's Rule 60(b) motion to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court also DENIES AS MOOT Akili's motion for appointment of counsel.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On February 11, 1994, a jury found Akili guilty of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.[3] On June 10, 1994, Judge David D. Dowd Jr. sentenced Akili to 264 months of imprisonment after finding Akili qualified as a career offender under the sentencing guidelines, which were mandatory at the time.[4]

         The Sixth Circuit affirmed Akili's conviction on June 14, 1995.[5] Akili did not file a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court.

         On September 10, 1996, Judge David D. Dowd Jr. denied Akili's first 28 U.S.C. § 2255 habeas petition.[6] On September 22, 2016, the Sixth Circuit granted Akili's motion to file a second and successive § 2255 petition.[7] This Court denied that habeas petition on April 14, 2017.[8] In its denial, the Court held that Akili's arguments for resentencing under Johnson v. United States were foreclosed by the Supreme Court's later decision in Beckles v. United States.[9]

         In his Rule 60(b) motion, Akili appears to seek relief from the Court's denial of his second § 2255 habeas petition.[10] Akili also seeks appointment of counsel to assist with his motion.[11] The government opposes both motions.[12]

         II. ANALYSIS

         As an initial matter, the Court treats Akili's motion as a successive habeas petition.

         In the collateral proceedings context, courts must decide whether a Rule 60(b) motion is effectively a successive habeas petition.[13] A Rule 60(b)(6) motion that “attacks the federal court's previous resolution of a [habeas] claim on the merits” should be considered a successive § 2255 petition.[14] District courts lack the jurisdiction to hear successive § 2255 petitions without court of appeals authorization.[15]

         Here, Akili seeks “resentencing pursuant to a due process expectation from being classified as a career offender.”[16] Defendant appears to challenge this Court's denial of his second § 2255 petition because of Beckles. As a result, Defendant's Rule 60(b)(6) motion is a successive petition and the Court transfers it to the Sixth Circuit.

         Even if the Court were to consider the merits, there would be no basis to grant relief.

         In denying Defendant's § 2255 petition, the Court held that Defendant could not be resentenced under Johnson v. United States, which invalidated sentences based on felonies that qualified under the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminals Act (ACCA).[17] The Court reasoned that Johnson did not apply to Defendant's sentence because Defendant was sentenced under the Guidelines, not the ACCA's residual clause.[18] Citing to Beckles v. United States, the Court held that the Guidelines' ...


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