United States District Court, D. Maryland
J. MESSITTE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
petitioner Craig Webster has filed a Motion that the Court
construes as a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct
Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. ECF No. 71. It
represents his third such Motion. The Court has considered
the Motion and the Government's Opposition. For the
reasons set forth below, the Motion is DENIED.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
16, 2005, Webster pled guilty to one count of Possession with
Intent to Distribute 50 or more Grams of a Mixture Containing
Cocaine Base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841. At
sentencing, the Court adopted the factual findings and
advisory guidelines applications in the presentence report
(“PSR”) and determined that Webster was a career
offender under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1 based on prior
convictions for distribution of cocaine and second degree
assault. PSR at ¶ 21. The career offender designation
resulted in a criminal history category VI, which, together
with the Court's calculation of Webster's final
offense level as 34, resulted in an advisory guideline range
of 262 to 327 months. Sentencing Hr'g Tr. at 8:3-10; ECF
No. 59. On September 7, 2005, the Court sentenced Webster to
262 months' imprisonment, to be followed by five years of
supervised release. ECF No. 21.
an unsuccessful appeal to the Fourth Circuit, United States
v. Webster, 201 Fed.Appx. 946 (4th Cir. 2006), and the
Supreme Court, Webster v. United States, 549 U.S. 1139
(2007), Webster filed his first motion to vacate pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2255 on May 15, 2007. ECF No. 29. On August
7, 2008, the Court denied his motion. ECF Nos. 42 & 43.
March 10, 2014, the Federal Public Defender
(“FPD”) filed a Motion for Appointment of Counsel
in Webster's case, suggesting that he might be eligible
for relief in light of Descamps v. United States, 133 S.Ct.
2276 (2013), and United States v. Royal, 731 F.3d 333, 340-42
(4th Cir. 2013). ECF 50. The Court granted that motion on
March 19, 2014. ECF 51.
then, through the FPD, filed a request in the Fourth Circuit
for authorization to file a second or successive § 2255
motion, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.A. § 2244. In re Craig
Webster, No. 14-226. The Fourth Circuit denied the request,
however, and Webster never filed a Descamps § 2255
motion in this Court. ECF No. 55.
March 7, 2016, the FPD again filed a Motion for Appointment
of Counsel, indicating that Webster may be eligible for
relief in light of Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2251
(2015). ECF No. 58. United States District Judge Blake
granted the Motion on the same date. Id. On May 11,
2016, Webster filed an Application for Leave to File a
Successive Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 in the Fourth
Circuit, relying on the new rule of law announced by Johnson.
In re Craig Webster, No. 16-716. On June 21, 2016, the Fourth
Circuit granted Webster's request and issued a Notice of
22, 2016, Webster filed his second § 2255 motion in this
Court. ECF No. 62. In that Motion, Webster argued that
Johnson, which struck down the Armed Career Criminal
Act's residual clause (18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii))
as unconstitutionally vague, also struck down the identical
residual clause in the career offender provision of the
Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(2)).
Id. Therefore, Webster argued, his prior conviction
for Maryland second degree assault would no longer qualify
him as a career offender under the Sentencing Guidelines, and
his sentence should be vacated. Id.
the Supreme Court held that “the advisory Guidelines
are not subject to vagueness challenges under the Due Process
Clause, ” and therefore “§ 4B1.2(a)'s
residual clause is not void for vagueness.” Beckles v.
United States, 137 S.Ct. 886, 890-92 (2017). As a result,
Webster filed a Notice of Dismissal of 28 U.S.C. § 2255
Motion, alerting the Court that Webster was voluntarily
dismissing his June 22 Motion to Vacate pursuant to Rule
41(a)(1)(i) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. ECF No.
67. The Court approved the Notice of Dismissal on the same
day. ECF No. 68.
January 29, 2018, Webster, pro se, filed the present Motion,
which the Court has construed as a Motion to Vacate pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In it, Webster asks the Court to
vacate or reduce his sentence due to, among other things, his
counsel's ineffective assistance, Johnson, and/or changes
in crack cocaine sentencing. ECF No. 71. Webster never
received authorization from the Fourth Circuit to file this
third Motion. On April 24, 2018, the Government filed an
opposition, to which Webster has not replied.
second or successive § 2255 motion may not be filed
absent authorization to do so from the Court of
Appeals.” Stockton v. United States, 2013 WL 1345108,
at *1 (D. Md. Apr. 1, 2013) (citing 28 U.S.C. §
2244(b)(3)(A) & 2255; In re Avery W. Vial, 115 F.3d 1192,
1197-98 (4th Cir. 1997 (en banc)). “Without such
authorization, the district court lacks jurisdiction to hear
the claims.” Id. (citing United States v.
Winestock, 340 F.3d 200, 208-09 (4th Cir. 2003)).
present Motion to Vacate is Webster's third attempt to
amend his sentence pursuant to § 2255. Webster has not
filed a request with the Fourth Circuit for the present
§ 2255 Motion, nor has he received such permission.
Although Webster received permission from the Fourth Circuit
to file a second or successive § 2255 motion on June 21,
2016, that authorization was based on Webster's claim
that Johnson applied to the Sentencing Guidelines and expired
on June 26, 2016. Because that authorization does not apply
to the present Motion, and because Webster has not requested