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United States v. Adams

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London

August 28, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Petitioner/Respondent,
v.
JOHN WAYNE ADAMS, Defendant/Movant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court pending review of the Recommended Disposition of United States Magistrate Judge Hanly A. Ingram [R. 190], as well as the Motion for Reconsideration filed by Defendant John Wayne Adams. [R. 185.] For the reasons explained below, the Court will ADOPT the Recommended Disposition of Magistrate Judge Ingram, will GRANT Mr. Adams's Motion for Reconsideration, but will DENY Mr. Adams relief on the underlying motion.

         I

         In 2012, Defendant John Wayne Adams pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. Although Mr. Adams's recommended United States Sentencing Guidelines range was 262 to 327 months, Adams entered into a binding plea agreement with the United States which set his term of imprisonment at 240 months. [See R. 119.] In November 2012, the undersigned accepted the proposed binding plea agreement and sentenced Adams to 240 months of incarceration. [See R. 126.]

         In July 2015, Mr. Adams filed a motion to reduce his sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and Amendment 782 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which provides for a two-level reduction in the base offense level for certain drug offenses. [See R. 168.] The Court denied that motion, stating that Adams was ineligible for relief as a Career Offender. [R. 172.] Mr. Adams appealed the denial to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals [R. 180] and also filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court's order. [R. 185.] Subsequently, Mr. Adams filed a motion to vacate his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. [R. 188.]

         The Sixth Circuit dismissed Adams's appeal as untimely. [R. 191.] Magistrate Judge Ingram has recommended Adams's habeas petition also be dismissed as untimely. [R. 190.] The Court now considers both the pending motion for reconsideration and Judge Ingram's Recommended Disposition.

         II

         A

         First, the Court must deny Mr. Adams's pro se motion to vacate his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Consistent with local practice, Adams's habeas petition was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Hanly A. Ingram for the preparation of a Recommended Disposition. Judge Ingram considered the matter and concluded Mr. Adams is not entitled to the relief sought. Specifically, Judge Ingram found that Mr. Adams's petition was time-barred, and that, even if it was not untimely, it fails on the merits because Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 251 (2015), does not apply to his case. [See R. 190.]

         Judge Ingram's Recommended Disposition advised the parties that any objections to the recommendation must be filed within fourteen (14) days of service or waive the right to further appeal. [Id. at 7.] As of this date, neither party has filed any objections nor sought an extension of time to do so.

         Generally, this Court must make a de novo determination of those portions of a recommended disposition to which objections are made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c). When no objections are made, however, this Court is not required to “review . . . a magistrate's factual or legal conclusions, under a de novo or any other standard . . . .” Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985). Parties who fail to object to a Magistrate's report and recommendation are also barred from appealing a district court's order adopting that report and recommendation. United States v. Walters, 638 F.2d 947 (6th Cir. 1981). Nevertheless, this Court has examined the record, and it agrees with Judge Ingram's Recommended Disposition. Furthermore, the Court declines to issue a certificate of appealability. The Court determines that reasonable jurists would not find the denial of Mr. Adams's § 2255 motion debatable. See Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000).

         B

         Next, the Court considers Mr. Adams's Motion for Reconsideration filed on February 10, 2016. [R. 185.] By way of this pro se motion, Mr. Adams challenges the Court's order at Docket Entry 172, which denied Mr. Adams an Amendment 782 sentence reduction because he was a Career Offender. [See R. 172.] Adams contends he was sentenced pursuant to a binding plea agreement, not the Career Offender provisions of the United States Sentencing Guidelines. Accordingly, he moves for reconsideration of the Court's order. [R. 185.]

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) allows for relief from a final judgment, order, or proceeding where there has been a mistake or where relief is otherwise justified. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1), (6).[1] Mr. Adams's articulated ground for reconsideration is that he was sentenced under a binding plea agreement and not as a Career Offender. Upon review of the record, the Court agrees that Mr. Adams was, in fact, sentenced pursuant to a binding plea agreement, an issue the Court failed to address when denying his request for a sentence reduction. [See R. 119; R. 172; R. 181-1 at 2-3.] Therefore, his motion for reconsideration will be granted, and the Court will vacate its prior order denying the sentence ...


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