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United States v. Dean

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division

April 20, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
WILLIAM LOUIS DEAN

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Kenneth M. Hoyt United States District Judge

         William Louis Dean pled guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), and one count of carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). This Court sentenced him to a 235 month term of imprisonment on the first count, and a consecutive 60 month sentence on the second count. Both sentences were to run concurrently to sentences Dean is serving on Texas state convictions. In addition, this Court sentenced Dean to five years of supervised release. See Judgment (Dkt. No. 20).

         This case is now before the Court on Dean's motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence (Dkt. No. 22), and the government's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 28). Dean did not respond to the government's motion.

         Having carefully considered Dean's motion, the government's motion, all the arguments and authorities submitted by the parties, and the entire record, the Court is of the opinion that the government's motion should be granted, and Dean's motion should be denied.

         I. Applicable Legal Standards

         Dean brings this motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which provides for relief “for errors that occurred at trial or sentencing.” Jeffers v. Chandler, 253 F.3d 827, 830 (5th Cir. 2001). The motion contends that Dean was sentenced under the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), part of which was held unconstitutional by Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015).

         The government moves for summary judgment under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 56(a) provides for the entry of judgment “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”

         II. Analysis

         The ACCA, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), provides for enhanced penalties for a defendant convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm if that defendant has three or more prior convictions “for a violent felony or a serious drug offense, or both . . . .” The statute defines “violent felony” as a crime that

(i)has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another; or
(ii) is burglary, arson, or extortion, involves use of explosives, or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another . . . .

18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B).

         In Johnson, the Supreme Court held that the residual clause of the ACCA, i.e., the clause enhancing penalties for a defendant previously convicted of a crime that “otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another”, is unconstitutionally vague. The Court specifically stated that the decision did not affect “the remainder of the Act's definition of a violent felony.” Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at 2563. Dean, noting that he was sentenced under the ACCA, seeks relief based on Johnson.

         At his sentencing, Dean admitted that he had three prior Texas state convictions for aggravated robbery. See Dkt. No. 29 at 16-17. The Texas penal code defines aggravated robbery as a robbery in which a person suffers bodily injury, certain vulnerable categories of people are threatened with bodily injury, or the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon. Tex. Penal Code § 29.03(a). Thus, aggravated robbery “has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another”, and is therefore a “violent felony” under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(i). Because Dean had four prior convictions for aggravated robbery, it is clear that he was not sentenced under the residual clause, but because he committed three or more felonies that meet the statutory ...


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