United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
GREGORY V. WILSON MOVANT/DEFENDANT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA RESPONDENT/PLAINTIFF
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. Russell, Senior Judge United States District Court
matter is before the Court upon Movant Gregory V.
Wilson's pro se motion to vacate his conviction
and sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. [DN 38.] This
Court referred the matter to Magistrate Judge Lanny King for
findings of fact, conclusions of law, and a recommendation.
[DN 39.] The Magistrate Judge recommends that Wilson's
motion be denied. See [DN 49.] Wilson has filed
objections to portions of the Magistrate Judge's report.
[DN 50.] The Court must review de novo those
portions of the Magistrate Judge's recommended
disposition to which Wilson objects. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(C). After careful consideration of Wilson's
objections and the record, the Court agrees with the
Magistrate Judge that Wilson's motion is without merit.
Therefore, for the following reasons, Wilson's motion to
vacate his sentence and conviction pursuant to § 2255
[DN 38] is DENIED. Furthermore, the Court DENIES a
certificate of appealability as to all grounds raised in his
Facts and Procedural History
purposes of Wilson's § 2255 motion, the facts are
undisputed. Wilson pled guilty, pursuant to a written plea
agreement, to being a felon in possession of a firearm in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). See [DN
15.] At sentencing, Wilson admitted that he qualified as an
armed career criminal under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1), the
Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). [DN 42 at 3.] The Court
sentenced Wilson to fifteen years' imprisonment, the
statutory minimum under 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g) and
the Supreme Court held in Johnson v. United States,
__ U.S., 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), that ACCA's
“residual clause” is unconstitutionally vague.
Based upon Johnson and its progeny, Wilson now moves
the Court to vacate his conviction and sentence. See
[DN 38.] The Magistrate Judge recommends that Wilson's
motion be denied because Wilson was not sentenced under
ACCA's residual clause. [DN 49 at 3-4.] Rather, Wilson
qualifies as an armed career criminal because of his four
convictions for first-degree cocaine trafficking in Kentucky
state court. [Id. at 3.] Wilson filed objections to
the Magistrate Judge's report, [DN 50], and the time for
filing a response has passed. This matter is ripe for
Standard of Review
prisoner may request that his sentence be set aside on the
grounds that it was “imposed in violation of the
Constitution or laws of the United States.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255(a). “The statute does not provide a remedy,
however, for every error that may have been made in the
proceedings leading to conviction, ” but only
“when the error qualifies as a ‘fundamental
defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of
justice.'” Slater v. United States, 38
F.Supp.2d 587, 589 (M.D. Tenn. 1999) (quoting Reed v.
Farley, 512 U.S. 339 (1994)).
Armed Career Criminal Act provides that “a person who
violates section 922(g) of this title and has three previous
convictions . . . for a violent felony or a serious drug
offense, or both, committed on occasions different from one
another” is subject to a fifteen-year mandatory minimum
sentence. 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1).
to Wilson's case, ACCA defines a “serious drug
offense” as “an offense under State law,
involving manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with
intent to manufacture or distribute, a controlled substance .
. . for which a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or
more is prescribed by law.” Id. §
924(e)(2)(A)(ii). A “violent felony, ” meanwhile,
crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one
year . . . 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 the use of
explosives, or otherwise involves conduct that presents a
serious potential risk of physical injury to another[.]
Id. § 924(e)(2)(B) (emphasis added). In
Johnson, the Supreme Court held that the italicized
language, ACCA's “residual clause, ” is
unconstitutionally vague because it “denies fair notice
to defendants and invites arbitrary enforcement by
judges.” Johnso ...