United States v. Taylor, Criminal No. 03–10 (CKK)

CourtU.S. District Court — District of Columbia
Writing for the CourtCOLLEEN KOLLAR–KOTELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Citation272 F.Supp.3d 127
Parties UNITED STATES of America, v. Donald Earl TAYLOR, also known as Michael Dickens, Defendant.
Docket NumberCivil Action No. 16–1241 (CKK),Criminal No. 03–10 (CKK)
Decision Date09 August 2017

272 F.Supp.3d 127

UNITED STATES of America,
v.
Donald Earl TAYLOR, also known as Michael Dickens, Defendant.

Criminal No. 03–10 (CKK)
Civil Action No. 16–1241 (CKK)

United States District Court, District of Columbia.

Signed August 9, 2017


272 F.Supp.3d 129

Charles Joseph Harkins, Jr., U. S. Attorneys, Washington, DC, for Plaintiff.

Tony W. Miles, Federal Public Defender for D.C., Washington, DC, for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

(August 9, 2017)

COLLEEN KOLLAR–KOTELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Presently before the Court are Defendant Donald Earl Taylor's [23] Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence, and Mr. Taylor's [26] Supplemental Motion to Vacate Judgment Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Upon a searching

272 F.Supp.3d 130

review of the parties' submissions,1 the relevant authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court finds that Mr. Taylor no longer qualifies for a sentencing enhancement pursuant to the Armed Career Criminal Act based on his prior criminal convictions in light of the Supreme Court of the United States' holding in Johnson v. United States , ––– U.S. ––––, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 192 L.Ed.2d 569 (2015). Accordingly, the Court shall GRANT Mr. Taylor's [23] Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence, and [26] Supplemental Motion to Vacate Judgment Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, and set this matter for a resentencing.

I. BACKGROUND

On December 10, 2002, Mr. Taylor was arrested and detained after a criminal complaint was filed against him. On January 9, 2003, an indictment was filed charging Mr. Taylor with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a person convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for one year or more pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), and one count of simple possession of a controlled substance pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 844(a). On April 4, 2003, Mr. Taylor pled guilty to one violation of § 922(g)(1), pursuant to North Carolina v. Alford , 400 U.S. 25, 91 S.Ct. 160, 27 L.Ed.2d 162 (1970). As part of the plea agreement, Mr. Taylor acknowledged that based on his prior criminal record, "pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1), he may be imprisoned for not less than 15 years for this [ § 922(g)(1) ] offense," and "likely will be considered an Armed Career Criminal under section 4B1.4 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines." Plea Agmt. at 1. The Court dismissed the charge of simple possession of a controlled substance pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 844(a).

This matter proceeded to sentencing on July 22, 2003. At that time, a person convicted of a § 922(g) violation who also had three prior convictions for a "violent felony" or "serious drug offense" was subject to a 15–year mandatory minimum pursuant to the Armed Career Criminal Act ("ACCA"). 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1) (2002). Further, a "violent felony" was defined as any crime punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year that: (1) "has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another;" (2) "is burglary, arson, or extortion, [or] involves use of explosives;" or (3) "otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another." Id. § 924(e)(2)(B). Generally, these clauses are known respectively as the "elements clause,"2 the "enumerated clause," and the "residual clause." United States v. Redrick , 841 F.3d 478, 480 & n.3 (D.C. Cir. 2016). Further, at the time of sentencing,

272 F.Supp.3d 131

United States Sentencing Guideline ("U.S.S.G.") § 2K2.1(a)(2) provided a sentencing enhancement for a defendant who had "at least two felony convictions of either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense." U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(a)(2) (2002). Further, U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a) provided a sentencing enhancement for a person classified as a Career Offender, meaning a person whose present conviction was one for a "crime of violence" or "controlled substance offense," and had two prior felony convictions for such offenses. A "crime of violence" was defined for both guideline provisions in materially the same manner as "violent felony" discussed above. See § 2K2.1(a)(2), comment n.5; U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a). The Court notes that at the time of Mr. Taylor's sentencing the U.S.S.G. were mandatory and binding on all judges. See United States v. Booker , 543 U.S. 220, 233, 125 S.Ct. 738, 160 L.Ed.2d 621 (2005).

The Court sentenced Mr. Taylor to a term of imprisonment of 15 years (180 months) followed by a term of supervised release of 3 years (36 months). In imposing this sentence, the Court found that Mr. Taylor was subject to a 15–year mandatory minimum in light of his prior convictions. Judg. in Cr. Case, Stmt. of Reasons at 1 ("Armed Career Offender, 15 yrs. mandatory minimum"); Sent'g Hrg. Tr. (July 22, 2003), at 15:7–10, ECF No. [26–1] ("[T]he court doesn't have any choice about the 15 mandatory minimum sentence."). Specifically, the Court recognized that Mr. Taylor had: a 1994 conviction for assault with intent to rape in Prince George's County, Maryland, PSR ¶ 29; a 1999 conviction for assault with a dangerous weapon in the District of Columbia, PSR ¶ 31; and a 2001 conviction for distribution of cocaine in the District of Columbia, PSR ¶ 32. See Sent'g Hrg. Tr. (Jul. 22, 2003), at 4:9–13. As reflected in the Presentence Investigation Report, Mr. Taylor was subject to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years pursuant to the ACCA, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). PSR ¶ 71. Further, the Court applied U.S.S.G. §§ 2K2.1(a)(2) (increased base level offense based on two prior felony convictions for a crime of violence or controlled substance offense) and 4B1.4 (Armed Career Criminal enhancement) in calculating Mr. Taylor's sentencing range under the U.S.S.G. PSR ¶¶ 19, 25; Sent'g Hrg. Tr. (July 22, 2003), at 3:25—4:1 (adopting PSR as written). Mr. Taylor did not appeal his conviction or sentence.

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ("Supreme Court") in Johnson v. United States , ––– U.S. ––––, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 192 L.Ed.2d 569 (2015), held that the residual clause of the ACCA, § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii), is unconstitutionally vague. Id. at 2563. On April 18, 2016, the Supreme Court held in Welch v. United States , ––– U.S. ––––, 136 S.Ct. 1257, 194 L.Ed.2d 387 (2016), that its decision in Johnson announced a substantive rule that has a retroactive effect in cases on collateral review. Id. at 1268. In light of these holdings, on June 2, 2016, Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell issued a Standing Order "appoint[ing] the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Columbia to represent any defendant previously determined to have been entitled to appointment of counsel, or who is now indigent, to determine whether that defendant may qualify to seek to vacate a conviction or to seek a reduction of sentence or to present any motions to vacate a conviction and/or for reduction of sentence in accordance with Johnson and Welch ." Pursuant to the procedures set out in that Standing Order, Mr. Taylor, through counsel, filed an abridged [23] Motion Under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence on June 21, 2016. The motion currently is pending before this Court and

272 F.Supp.3d 132

further briefing on this motion was made in accordance with Chief Judge Howell's Standing Orders of June 2, 2016, and September 9, 2016, and subsequent order of this Court. Mr. Taylor argues that two of his prior convictions no longer qualify as violent felonies under the ACCA or crimes of violence under U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(a)(2) in light of the Supreme Court's holding in Johnson and, as such, requests that the Court correct his sentence. See generally Def.'s Supp. Mot., ECF No. [26].

With respect specifically to Mr. Taylor's arguments regarding the applicability of certain provisions of the U.S.S.G., the Court notes that the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ("D.C. Circuit") extended the reasoning of Johnson to the U.S.S.G., finding that the similarly worded residual clause of U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(b) also is unconstitutional under the void-for-vagueness doctrine. United States v. Sheffield , 832 F.3d 296, 312–13 (D.C. Cir. 2016). However, after briefing was complete on the instant motion, the Supreme Court in Beckles v. United States , ––– U.S. ––––, 137 S.Ct. 886, 197 L.Ed.2d 145 (2017), held that the residual clause of U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(2) is not void for vagueness because the U.S.S.G. are not subject to a vagueness challenges under the due process clause. Id. at 890. The Supreme Court noted that its holding did not render the U.S.S.G. immune from constitutional scrutiny, including scrutiny under the due process clause. Id. at 895–96. Rather, the majority opinion of the Supreme Court held specifically that the void-for-vagueness doctrine was inapplicable to the advisory U.S.S.G. Id. at 896. The Supreme Court explained: "Unlike the ACCA, ... the advisory Guidelines do not fix the permissible range of sentences. To the contrary, they merely guide the exercise of a court's discretion in choosing an appropriate sentence within the statutory range." Id. at 892. The Supreme Court also noted that the U.S.S.G. were initially...

To continue reading

Request your trial
6 practice notes
  • United States v. Hammond, Criminal Action No. 02-294 (BAH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • December 7, 2018
    ...Johnson § 2255 motion); United States v. West , 314 F.Supp.3d 223, 229 n.4 (D.D.C. 2018) (Leon, J.) (same); United States v. Taylor , 272 F.Supp.3d 127, 135–36 (D.D.C. 2017) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.) (same); United States v. Wilson , 249 F.Supp.3d 305, 315 (D.D.C. 2017) (Huvelle, J.) (same); Uni......
  • United States v. Carter, Crim. No. 04-cr-0155 (ESH)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • October 29, 2019
    ...2017) (Huvelle, J.); United States v. Brown , 249 F. Supp. 3d 287, 292-93 (D.D.C. 2017) (Sullivan, J.); United States v. Taylor , 272 F. Supp. 3d 127, 136 (D.D.C. 2017) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.). The same holds true for challenging the constitutionality of the residual clause in the Guidelines. ......
  • United States v. Hammond, Criminal Action No. 92-471 (BAH)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • November 28, 2018
    ...2018) (Leon, J.) (rejecting procedural default argument in the context of post- Johnson § 2255 motion); United States v. Taylor , 272 F.Supp.3d 127, 135–36 (D.D.C. 2017) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.) (same); United States v. Wilson , 249 F.Supp.3d 305, 315 (D.D.C. 2017) (Huvelle, J.) (same); United ......
  • United States v. Carr, Criminal No. 02-106 (JDB)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • July 19, 2018
    ...were known, respectively, as the "elements clause," the "enumerated clause," and the "residual clause." See United States v. Taylor, 272 F.Supp.3d 127, 130 (D.D.C. 2017).2 The Court never explicitly stated which of Carr's several prior convictions supported his designation as a career offen......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • United States v. Hammond, Criminal Action No. 02-294 (BAH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • December 7, 2018
    ...Johnson § 2255 motion); United States v. West , 314 F.Supp.3d 223, 229 n.4 (D.D.C. 2018) (Leon, J.) (same); United States v. Taylor , 272 F.Supp.3d 127, 135–36 (D.D.C. 2017) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.) (same); United States v. Wilson , 249 F.Supp.3d 305, 315 (D.D.C. 2017) (Huvelle, J.) (same); Uni......
  • United States v. Carter, Crim. No. 04-cr-0155 (ESH)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • October 29, 2019
    ...2017) (Huvelle, J.); United States v. Brown , 249 F. Supp. 3d 287, 292-93 (D.D.C. 2017) (Sullivan, J.); United States v. Taylor , 272 F. Supp. 3d 127, 136 (D.D.C. 2017) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.). The same holds true for challenging the constitutionality of the residual clause in the Guidelines. ......
  • United States v. Hammond, Criminal Action No. 92-471 (BAH)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • November 28, 2018
    ...2018) (Leon, J.) (rejecting procedural default argument in the context of post- Johnson § 2255 motion); United States v. Taylor , 272 F.Supp.3d 127, 135–36 (D.D.C. 2017) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.) (same); United States v. Wilson , 249 F.Supp.3d 305, 315 (D.D.C. 2017) (Huvelle, J.) (same); United ......
  • United States v. Carr, Criminal No. 02-106 (JDB)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • July 19, 2018
    ...were known, respectively, as the "elements clause," the "enumerated clause," and the "residual clause." See United States v. Taylor, 272 F.Supp.3d 127, 130 (D.D.C. 2017).2 The Court never explicitly stated which of Carr's several prior convictions supported his designation as a career offen......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT