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United States v. Carroll

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

June 2, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
RYAN CARROLL

          SECTION "S"

          ORDER AND REASONS

          MARY ANN VIAL LEMMON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Ryan Carroll's Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence (Doc. #423) is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         This matter is before the court on Ryan Carroll's motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence brought under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Carroll argues that under Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), the residual clause of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(B) is unconstitutionally vague, and he is entitled to have his sentence for violating 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) vacated.

         In this case, Carroll pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) (Count 1), and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and relation to a crime of violence and a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) (Count 9).[1] On October 16, 2013, Carroll was sentenced to 90 months imprisonment for Count 1, and 120 month imprisonment for Count 9, to be served consecutively, which was the statutory mandatory sentence for Count 9.

         On June 19, 2016, Carroll filed the present motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence.[2] Carroll argues that his sentence on Count 9 should be vacated because his RICO conviction falls under the residual clause of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(B), which he argues is unconstitutionally vague under the reasoning employed by the Supreme Court of the United States in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015).

         ANALYSIS

         Pursuant to § 2255, a prisoner in custody under a federal court sentence may seek relief on four grounds: (1) “that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States”; (2) “that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence”; (3) “that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law”; or, (4) that the sentence “is otherwise subject to collateral attack.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255. If the district court determines that a petitioner is entitled to relief under § 2255, the court “shall vacate and set the judgment aside and shall discharge the prisoner or resentence him or grant a new trial or correct the sentence as may appear appropriate.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). “Relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is reserved for transgressions of constitutional rights and for a narrow range of injuries that could not have been raised on direct appeal and would, if condoned, result in a complete miscarriage of justice.” United States v. Vaughn, 955 F.2d 367, 368 (5th Cir. 1992).

         Section 924(c)(1)(A)(iii) provides that:

any person, who during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime . . . for which the person may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carriers a firearm, or who, in furtherance of any such crime, possesses a firearm, shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such crime of violence or drug trafficking crime, if the firearm is discharged, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 10 years.

18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(iii). The sentence shall run concurrently with any other term of imprisonment imposed on the person. Id. at § 924(c)(1)(D). A “crime of violence” for the purposes of § 924(c) is defined as a felony offense:

(a) [that] has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or
(B) that by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the ...

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