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United States v. Price

United States District Court, D. Maryland

October 19, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ASHANTI PRICE, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          Ellen L. Hollander United States District Judge.

         Ashanti Price (“Petitioner”) and six others were indicted on July 17, 2013 (ECF 1), on charges involving conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, possession with intent to distribute, and health care fraud. Price entered a plea of guilty on May 9, 2014, to the charge of Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Oxycodone, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. ECF 148; ECF 150 (Plea Agreement). On September 9, 2014, the Court sentenced Petitioner to 60 months' imprisonment. ECF 198; ECF 201 (Judgment). Petitioner did not note an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. See Docket.

         On September 26, 2016, Petitioner filed a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct a Sentence, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. ECF 238 (the “Petition”). Price signed the Petition on September 19, 2016. Id. In her Petition, Price claims she is entitled to relief pursuant to the Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551');">135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). The government has moved to dismiss the Petition on the ground that it was untimely filed. ECF 241. Alternatively, the government argues that Price is not entitled to relief. Price has replied. ECF 246. She argues that her Petition is timely because Johnson “did not become retroactive until the Supreme Court issued an opinion in Welch [v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (2016)].” Welch was decided April 18, 2016.

         In addition, Price moved to stay this matter, pending the Supreme Court's decision in Beckles v. United States. ECF 250. See Beckles v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017). The government opposed that Motion (ECF 253) and Price replied. ECF 357. Given that the Supreme Court decided Beckles, 137 S.Ct. 886, in March 2017, I shall deny ECF 250 as moot.

         No hearing is necessary to resolve the Petition. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). For the reasons that follow, I shall dismiss the Petition.

         Discussion

         A.

         The Supreme Court decided Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 255, on June 26, 2015. In Johnson, the Court invalidated the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), ruling that the definition of a “violent felony” was unconstitutionally vague. Id. at 2555-2558. The Court determined that the residual clause “did not articulate clearly how to evaluate the risks of injury posed by a crime, depriving defendants of fair notice regarding their potential sentence and inviting 'arbitrary enforcement by judges.'” United States v. Winston, 850 F.3d 667, 680 (4th Cir. Mar. 13, 2017) (explaining and quoting Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at 2557).

         Thereafter, in Welch v. United States, ___ U.S. ___, 136 S.Ct. 1257, 1264-685 (2016), the Supreme Court made clear that Johnson announced a new substantive rule of constitutional law, which applies retroactively on collateral review. In Beckles, however, the Supreme Court determined that the advisory sentencing guidelines are not subject to Johnson challenges.

         Under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f), a one-year limitation period applies to petitions under § 2255, which runs from the latest of:

(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final;
(2) the date on which the impediment to making a motion created by governmental action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the movant was prevented from making a motion by such governmental action;
(3) the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(4) the date on which the facts supporting the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the ...

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