United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Patrick J. Schiltz United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on defendant Dejaun Pierre Darkyse
Washington's motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his
sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See ECF Nos.
350, 362, 385. Washington argues that his sentence should
be corrected because (1) he was improperly classified as a
career offender, and (2) he should have been granted a
minor-role reduction under Amendment 794 to Section 3B1.2 of
the United States Sentencing Guidelines. The Court disagrees
on both counts and thus denies Washington's § 2255
pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the distribution of
cocaine base in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2 and 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C). See ECF
Nos. 109, 161-62. Washington had prior felony convictions for
simple robbery (Minn. Stat. § 609.24) and first-degree
assault (Minn. Stat. § 609.221, subd. 1). PSR
¶¶ 76-77. The parties agreed that both of these
convictions were crimes of violence for purposes of §
4B1.2(a). Based on this conclusion, the parties further
agreed that Washington qualified as a career offender under
§ 4B1.1. See Plea Agreement ¶ 7(a); PSR
¶ 9. The Court concluded that Washington's total
offense level was 29 (after applying a three-level reduction
for acceptance of responsibility); that his criminal history
category was VI; and that his Guidelines range was 151 to 188
months. The Court then varied downward and sentenced
Washington to 120 months in prison. ECF No. 319 at 2; ECF No.
320 at 1. Four months later, Washington brought this §
first claim is that he was improperly classified as a career
offender when he was sentenced. The Court rejects this claim
for two reasons.
this claim is not cognizable under § 2255. Section 2255
does not provide a remedy for “all claimed errors in
conviction and sentencing.” Sun Bear v. United
States, 644 F.3d 700, 704 (8th Cir. 2011) (en banc)
(quoting United States v. Addonizio, 442 U.S. 178,
185 (1979)). Rather, its text allows federal prisoners to
challenge a sentence that “was imposed in violation of
the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that . .
.was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is
otherwise subject to collateral attack.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255(a). This language “provides a remedy for
jurisdictional and constitutional errors” that would
“inherently result in a complete miscarriage of
justice.” Sun Bear, 644 F.3d at 704 (quoting
Addonizio, 442 U.S. at 185). But “ordinary
questions of guideline interpretation” generally
“may not be re-litigated under § 2255, ” as
long as the defendant's sentence does not “exceed
the statutory maximum for the offense of conviction.”
Id. at 704-06 (citations omitted).
sentence of 120 months was well beneath the 20-year statutory
maximum for his offense. Therefore, to the extent that his
first claim alleges that the Court erred in calculating his
Guidelines range, this claim is not cognizable under §
even if this claim were cognizable under § 2255, it
would fail on the merits. Washington argues that his simple
robbery conviction does not qualify as a “crime of
violence” under § 4B1.2's residual clause,
see ECF No. 350 at 13-14 (citing Johnson v.
United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 2556-63 (2015)), or as an
enumerated offense under the commentary to the 2015 version
of § 4B1.2, see ECF No. 385 at 1 (citing
United States v. Bell, 840 F.3d 963, 967-69 (8th
Cir. 2016)). Earlier this year, however, the Supreme Court
held that the residual clause of § 4B1.2-unlike the
residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act-was not
subject to vagueness challenges under the Due Process Clause.
Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886, 892-95
(2017). In addition-and independent of the question of
whether simple robbery under Minnesota law qualifies as a
“crime of violence” under the residual clause or
qualifies as an enumerated offense under the commentary to
§ 4B1.2-simple robbery under Minnesota law is a
“crime of violence” under § 4B1.2's
force clause. See United States v.
Jennings, 860 F.3d 450, 452-57 (7th Cir. 2017);
United States v. Taylor, No. 15-CR-0091(1)
(JNE/LIB), 2017 WL 506253, at *3-7 (D. Minn. Feb. 7, 2017)
(explaining why robbery under Minn. Stat. § 609.24
necessarily involves “violent” force). Therefore,
the Court did not err when it treated Washington's simple
robbery conviction as a “crime of violence” under
the Guidelines for sentencing purposes.
also argues that he should have been granted a minor-role
reduction under Amendment 794 to § 3B1.2. The Court
rejects this claim for two reasons.
a claim arguing for retroactive application of Amendment 794
must be brought as a § 3582 motion, not a § 2255
motion. See United States v. Bazaldua, No.
06-CR-0100 (JNE/JSM), 2016 WL 5858634, at *2 (D. Minn. Oct.
5, 2016). Such claims are not cognizable under § 2255.
even if the Court were to construe Washington's claim as
a § 3582 motion, it would still fail. The Court can
lower Washington's sentence under § 3582(c)(2) only
if Washington was “sentenced to a term of imprisonment
based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been
lowered by the Sentencing Commission pursuant to 28
U.S.C. 994(o) . . . after considering the factors set forth
in section 3553(a) to the extent that they are applicable, if
such a reduction is consistent with applicable policy
statements issued by the Sentencing Commission.” 18
U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) (emphasis added). Washington was
sentenced on February 24, 2016, several months after
Amendment 794 took effect on November 1, 2015. See
ECF No. 319; cf. ECF No. 243 ¶ 52 (noting that
“[t]he 2015 Guidelines Manual, incorporating all
guideline amendments, was used to determine the
defendant's offense level” (emphasis added)); 18
U.S.C. § 3553(a)(4)(A)(ii) (requiring courts to use the
Guidelines that ...