United States District Court, D. Minnesota
R. WINTER, ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, FOR PLAINTIFF.
MATTHEW D. FORSGREN, GREENE ESPEL PLLP, FOR DEFENDANT.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING 28 U.S.C. §
R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
November 7, 2013, defendant Irah Lee Goodwin pled guilty to
one count of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of
Racketeering in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2,
1959(a)(3). (Plea Hr'g Min. Entry, Nov. 7, 2013, Docket
No. 1333.) As part of the plea agreement, the parties
stipulated that Goodwin is a Career Offender as defined in
the United States Sentencing Guidelines (the
“Guidelines”) §§ 4B1.1, 4B1.2,
based on two prior convictions: (1) simple robbery, and (2)
Terroristic Threats pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 609.713,
subd. 1. Based on the parties' stipulations, the plea
agreement stated that application of the Career Offender
Guideline would result in a Guidelines range of 168 to 210
months' imprisonment. The parties further stipulated to a
joint recommendation of 210 months' imprisonment, and
Goodwin waived the right to appeal a sentence at or below 210
months' imprisonment. On December 11, 2013, the Court
sentenced Goodwin to 210 months' imprisonment. (Am. J. in
Crim. Case, Jan. 7, 2014, Docket No. 1353.)
24, 2016, Goodwin filed a motion to vacate his sentence
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Goodwin argues that his
stipulation that he is a Career Offender under the Guidelines
was premised on an understanding, at the time, that the
definition of Career Offender in the applicable Guidelines
did in fact apply to him.
motion is based on the Supreme Court's intervening
decision in Johnson v. United States, which
invalidated - as unconstitutionally vague - the residual
clause in the definition of “violent felony” in
the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), found at
18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii). 135 S.Ct. 2551, 2557
(2015); see also Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct.
1257, 1265 (2016) (holding that Johnson established
a new rule of substantive law, and thus, it applies
retroactively to cases on collateral review). Goodwin argues
that the residual clause in the definition of “crime of
violence” found in § 4B1.2(a), which is similar to
the unconstitutional residual clause in the ACCA's
definition of “violent felony, ” is
unconstitutionally vague just as the ACCA provision was
unconstitutionally vague. Goodwin further argues that because
the residual clause in § 4B1.2(a)(2) is invalid under
Johnson and Welch, Goodwin is not a Career
Offender, since his conviction for Terroristic Threats was
only considered as a “crime of violence” by
operation of the residual clause. Goodwin contends that his
understanding that he was a Career Offender as defined in the
Guidelines influenced his decision to stipulate to a sentence
at the top of the 210-month Guidelines range, and thus he is
entitled to resentencing.
December 9, 2016, the Court stayed the United States'
response to Goodwin's motion pending the resolution of
Beckles v. United States, which the Supreme Court
decided on March 6, 2017. 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017). In
Beckles, the Supreme Court rejected extending the
Johnson holding to § 4B1.2(a)(2), reasoning
that the “Guidelines are not subject to vagueness
challenges under the Due Process Clause.” Id.
at 890. Thus, Beckles forecloses any argument that
the residual clause in § 4B1.2(a)(2) is unconstitutional
under Johnson. Because this is the only argument
Goodwin raises in his motion, the Court will deny the motion.
Court may grant a certificate of appealability only where a
petitioner “has made a substantial showing of the
denial of a constitutional right.” See 28
U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2); Copeland v. Washington,
232 F.3d 969, 977 (8th Cir. 2000). The petitioner
must show that “the issues are debatable among
reasonable jurists, a court could resolve the issues
differently, or the issues deserve further
proceedings.” Flieger v. Delo, 16 F.3d 878,
883 (8th Cir. 1994); see also Slack v.
McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 483-84 (2000). The Court finds
it unlikely that another court would decide the issues raised
in Goodwin's motion differently and the issues are not
debatable or deserving of further proceedings. The Court
therefore concludes that Goodwin has failed to make the
required substantial showing of the denial of a
constitutional right and will deny a certificate of
on the foregoing, and all the files, records, and proceedings
herein, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
Defendant Irah Lee Goodwin's Motion to Vacate Sentence
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 [Docket No. 1625] is DENIED.
Court does not certify for appeal under 28 U.S.C. §
2253(c)(2) the issues raised in Goodwin's motion.
JUDGMENT BE ...