United States District Court, D. Maryland
CATHERINE C. BLAKE, District Judge.
pending is Eric Johnson's petition to vacate, set-aside,
or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Â§ 2255. (ECF No.
74). In December 2011 Johnson pled guilty to being a felon in
possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. Â§
922(g)(1), and was later sentenced to fifteen years'
imprisonment. (ECF No. 51). In support of the instant motion
challenging his sentence, Johnson argues that this court
improperly enhanced his sentence under the Armed Career
Criminal Act ("ACCA"), 18 U.S.C. Â§ 924(e), and that
his attorney provided ineffective assistance in violation of
his rights under the Sixth Amendment to the United States
Constitution. See (Pet'r's Mot. to Vacate
5-6, ECF No. 74). This matter has been fully briefed, and no
evidentiary hearing is necessary. For the reasons set forth
below, Johnson's Â§ 2255 petition will be denied.
was charged by indictment on November 18, 2010, with one
count of possession of a firearm by a felon in violation of
18 U.S.C. Â§ 922(g)(1). (ECF No. 1). On December 12, 2011, he
entered into a conditional guilty plea agreement, reserving
the right to appeal the district court's denial of his
motion to suppress various statements he made to the police
and evidence recovered from his home. (ECF No. 44). On March
7, 2012, Johnson appeared for sentencing. (ECF No. 50). The
court noted that Johnson had "four qualifying
convictions-three serious drug offenses, and one that would
qualify as a crime of violence"-which were identified in
paragraphs 37, 39, 40, and 42 of the Presentence Report
("PSR") prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
(Sentencing Hr'g Tr., Gov.'s Opp. Ex. 1 at 3:6-9, ECF
No. 80). The four convictions, all from the Circuit Court of
Maryland, Baltimore City, were described in the PSR as:
(1) a 1991 conviction for Possession with the Intent to
Distribute, for which Johnson was sentenced to a prison term
of two years;
(2) a 1994 conviction for Possession with the Intent to
Distribute Cocaine, for which Johnson was sentenced to a
prison term of two years and six months;
(3) a 1998 conviction for Possession with the Intent to
Distribute Heroin, for which Johnson was sentenced to a
prison term of twelve years; and
(4) a 1998 conviction for one count of Assault 2nd Degree,
for which Johnson was sentenced to a prison term of six
See (Presentence Report, Gov.'s Opp. Ex. 2
(Sealed Doc.) at 9-10). Based on these four convictions,
the PSR designated Johnson an armed career criminal under the
ACCA. ( Id. at 10). During Johnson's sentencing
hearing, the court likewise noted that Johnson's
"four qualifying convictions... mean that he... is an
armed career criminal." (Sentencing Hr'g Tr.,
Gov.'s Opp. Ex. 1 at 3:7, 10-11, ECF No. 80-1).
counsel confirmed that he had reviewed the PSR with Johnson,
and that neither he nor Johnson had any additions,
corrections, or modifications. ( Id. at 3:1-3). The
court thus sentenced Johnson to the mandatory minimum
sentence of fifteen years' imprisonment under the ACCA. (
Id. at 10:21-24). After Johnson timely appealed the
denial of his motion to suppress, the Fourth Circuit affirmed
that decision. (ECF Nos. 53, 69). See United
States v. Johnson, 734 F.3d 270 (4th Cir. 2013). The
Supreme Court denied Johnson's petition for certiorari on
June 2, 2014. See Johnson v. United States,
134 S.Ct. 2696 (2014).
who appears pro se, timely filed the instant motion.
See (ECF No. 74); 28 U.S.C. Â§ 2255(1). Notably,
documents filed pro se are "liberally
construed" and are "held to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers."
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)
raises two grounds for habeas relief. First, he asserts that
the district court erroneously deemed him an armed career
criminal under the ACCA, which resulted in an enhanced
sentence. Second, Johnson argues that his trial
attorney's failure to challenge his ...