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Haugabook v. United States

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

April 20, 2018

KIEJUAN HAUGABOOK, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          RULING ON PETITIONER'S MOTION TO VACATE, SET ASIDE, OR CORRECT SENTENCE

          Janet Bond Arterton, U.S.D.J.

         Petitioner Kiejuan Haugabook 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), which struck down the Residual Clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 942(e).[1] Petitioner argues that his prior Connecticut robbery convictions no longer qualify as predicate “crime[s] of violence” for calculation of his base offense level under § 2K2.1of the Sentencing Guidelines because the invalidation of the residual clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act as unconstitutionally vague extends to the residual clause set forth in the Sentencing Guidelines and, likewise, applies retroactively. Respondent United States (the “Government”) opposes the Motion, arguing that Johnson does not apply to the residual clause set forth in U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(2), foreclosing Petitioner's argument. In light of the Supreme Court's holding in Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017), Mr. Haugabook's petition must be denied.

         I. Background

         On June 11, 2014 Petitioner was indicted by a grand jury in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut on charges including, inter alia, possession of a sawed off firearm and/or an unregistered firearm, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5861(c). (Indictment [Doc. # 1], Count Two.) On February 3, 2015, Mr. Haugabook pleaded guilty to this charge, admitting to possession of a shortbarreled 12-gauge firearm (shotgun). (Plea Agreement [Doc. # 46] at 1, 9.)

         In the plea agreement, Mr. Haugabook stipulated to a base offense level of 26 pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(a)(1), and acknowledged his imprisonment range was 92 to 115 months.[2] (See Plea Agreement, Doc. # 46 at 5.) In the Presentence Report, Petitioner's prior Connecticut convictions for robbery in the first degree and robbery in the third degree were set forth and identified as crimes of violence. (PSR ¶¶ 30, 35, 11.) Mr. Haugabook did not object to these aspects of the PSR, nor did he object to the calculation of his base offense level as 26 or the guidelines range of 92-115 months. (PSR [Doc. # 49-2] ¶¶ 17, 74.) On May 5, 2015, the Court imposed a below-guidelines sentence of 84 months of imprisonment to be followed by three years supervised release. (Judgment [Doc. # 63].)

         At that time, the Guidelines defined “crime of violence” as any offense, punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, that--

(1) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another; or
(2) is burglary, arson, or extortion, involves use of explosives, or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.

U.S.S.G., § 4B1.2(a).

         II. Discussion

         Section 2255 of title 28 of the United States Code provides, in relevant part:

A prisoner in custody under sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(a).

         “Because collateral challenges are in tension with society's strong interest in the finality of criminal convictions, the courts have established rules that make it more difficult for a defendant to upset a conviction by collateral, as opposed to direct, attack.” Yick Man Mui v. United States, 614 F.3d 50, 53 (2d Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks omitted). Relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 is available “only for a constitutional error, a lack of jurisdiction in the sentencing court, or an error of law or fact that constitutes a fundamental defect which inherently results in a complete miscarriage of justice.” Cuoco v. United States, 208 F.3d 27, 30 (2d Cir. 2000) (internal ...


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