United States District Court, D. Maryland
October 9, 2014
RONALD NATHANIEL STEWART, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent. Criminal No. WDQ-04-376
WILLIAM D. QUARLES, Jr., District Judge.
On June 16, 2005, Ronald Nathaniel Stewart ("Stewart") was sentenced to a cumulative 210-month term of imprisonment on counts of bank robbery and use of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(d) and 924(c). Judgment was entered on June 17, 2005. See United States v. Stewart , Criminal No. WDQ-04-376 (D. Md.) at ECF No. 36. No appeal was filed.
On March 26, 2012, Stewart filed his first motion to vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See United States v. Stewart , Criminal No. WDQ-04-376 at ECF No. 46. The motion was fully briefed and dismissed as untimely on November 27, 2012. Id. at ECF Nos. 57 & 58. The Fourth Circuit dismissed the appeal and denied a certificate of appealability on September 27, 2013. See United States v. Stewart, 540 Fed.Appx. 171 (4th Cir. 2013).
On November 22, 2013, the court received for filing Stewart's second motion to vacate. See United States v. Stewart , Criminal No. WDQ-04-376 (D. Md.) at ECF No. 74. He raised a claim under Descamps v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013),  which he argued "narrowed the interpretation of burglary as a violent felony" under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). As the dismissal of Stewart's first § 2255 motion constituted an adjudication of that motion on the merits, see Villanueva v. United States, 346 F.3d 55, 61 (2d Cir. 2003), the newly filed motion was dismissed as a successive § 2255 challenge to Stewart's convictions on December 3, 2014. See United States v. Stewart , Criminal No. WDQ-04-376 (D. Md.) at ECF Nos. 75 & 76. The Court could not consider Stewart's claim absent leave to do so from the Fourth Circuit. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 2244(b)(3)(A) & 2255; In re Avery W. Vial, 115 F.3d 1192, 1194 (4th Cir. 1997) ( en banc ). On April 17, 2014, Stewart filed a motion with the Fourth Circuit under § 2244, seeking permission to file his Descamps claim in a successive § 2255 application. See In re: Ronald N. Stewart, CA No. 14-204 (4th Cir. 2014). On May 20, 2014, the Fourth Circuit denied authorization for Stewart to file a second motion. See United States v. Stewart , Criminal No. WDQ-04-376 (D. Md.) at ECF No. 79.
Nonetheless, on September 29, 2014, Stewart filed a successive motion renewing his Descamps claim. See United States v. Stewart , Criminal No. WDQ-04-376 (D. Md.) at ECF No. 80. As there is no showing Stewart has received certification from the Fourth Circuit to file his motion, this court may not consider the merits of his claim. The motion shall be dismissed without prejudice.
Stewart has no absolute entitlement to appeal the denial of his § 2255 motion. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1). A certificate of appealability may issue only if the applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. Id. at § 2253(c)(2). Stewart "must demonstrate that reasonable jurists would find the district court's assessment of the constitutional claims debatable or wrong, " Tennard v. Dretke, 542 U.S. 274, 282 (2004) (quoting Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000)), or that "the issues presented were adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further, '" Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 335-36, (2003) (quoting Barefoot v. Estelle, 463 U.S. 880, 893 n. 4 (1983). The Court declines to issue a certificate of appealability because Stewart has not made the requisite showing. A separate Order follows dismissing this motion, declining to issue a certificate of appealability, and closing the civil case.