United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO VACATE, SET
ASIDE, OR CORRECT SENTENCE
Bond Arterton, U.S.D.J.
Terrance Reid ("Mr. Reid") filed a Motion to
Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence ("Mot. to
Vacate") [Doc. # 1] pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in
light of the holding in Johnson v. United States,
576 U.S.___, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015) ("2015
Johnson"), which struck down the Residual
Clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act ("ACCA"),
18 U.S.C. § 942(e). Petitioner argues that the Court
miscalculated his base offense level by treating his prior
Connecticut convictions for assault as a "crime of
violence" and that the holding in Johnson
explicitly forbids a calculation based on this reasoning.
Respondent United States (the "Government") opposes
the Motion, arguing that Mr. Reid's waiver of the right
to collaterally attack his sentence, as set forth in his plea
agreement, forecloses the first argument and that
Johnson does not apply retroactively to the residual
clause set forth in U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(2), foreclosing
his second argument. In light of the Supreme Court's
holding in Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886
(2017), and because he waived his right to collaterally
attack his conviction, Mr. Reid's petition must be
suspicious conversation between Mr. Reid and a police officer
in front of a New Haven nightclub in March, 2008, the police
walked over to Mr. Reid's vehicle and saw a handgun in
plain view on the front seat. A grand jury subsequently
indicted Mr. Reid on one count, charging him with unlawful
possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of
18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). Mr. Reid
waived his right to that indictment and pleaded guilty to a
substitute Information that charged him with possession of a
stolen firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(j) and
924(a)(2). (See 08-cr-115, Criminal Information
[Doc. # 36]; Waiver of Indictment [Doc. # 37]; Executed Plea
Agreement [Doc. # 39].)
Plea agreement stipulated that:
Terence Reid agrees to plead guilty to Count One of the
Information, charging him with possession of a stolen
firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(j) and 924(a)(2).. ..
The Government and the defendant agree that, under U.S.S.G.
§ 2K2.1(a)(2), the defendant's base offense level is
24. [After adjustments, the resulting offense level was 27.]
The parties agree that the defendant has accumulated 12
criminal history points, and is therefore a Criminal History
Category V. At an adjusted offense level of 27 and a Criminal
History Category V, the resulting Sentencing Guideline range
will be 120-150 months' imprisonment.... Because the
defendant is subject to a maximum statutory penalty of 120
months' imprisonment, the effective guideline range is
(Executed Plea Agreement at 4.) The guidelines would have
advised a sentence of 130-162 months' imprisonment, but
because of the statutory maximum, the parties agreed that 120
months was the appropriate guideline range.
Plea agreement also contained the following waiver:
The defendant acknowledges that under certain circumstances
he is entitled to challenge his conviction and sentence. It
is specifically agreed that the defendant will not . . .
collaterally attack in any proceeding, including but not
limited to a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and/or §
2241, the conviction or sentence imposed by the Court if that
sentence does not exceed 120 months' incarceration ....
The defendant acknowledges that he is knowingly and
intelligently waiving these rights.
(Id. at 5.) The Court imposed a sentence of 120
months running concurrently with a state sentence. (Judgment
[Doc. # 47] at 1.)
During the sentencing hearing, Mr. Reid orally confirmed that
he understood his waiver:
THE COURT: In your agreement you have specifically agreed you
will not appeal or collaterally attack in any proceeding,
including what we call a 2255 or a 2241, your conviction or
your sentence of imprisonment imposed by the Court if that
sentence is not more than 120 months, no matter what analysis
the Court reaches that sentence by. Do you understand that?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, your honor.
(Ex. A. ("Plea Tr.") to Respondent's Opp'n
[Doc. # 7-1] at 25; see also Plea Tr. at 30 (THE
COURT: "There is a statutory right to appeal your
sentence if you think that sentence is contrary to law, but
as we reviewed earlier, you have specifically agreed that you
won't appeal or collaterally attack any conviction or
sentence of imprisonment if it doesn't exceed 120
months."). In his Petition to Enter Plea of Guilty, Mr.
Reid confirmed that his guilty plea was made "freely and
voluntarily" and of his own accord. (See Plea
Petition [Doc. # 38] at 13.)
Reid's sentence was calculated under U.S.S.G.
2K2.1(a)(2), which declares that a defendant's base
offense level shall be 24 "if the defendant committed
any part of the instant offense subsequent to sustaining at
least two felony convictions ...