United States District Court, D. Maryland
CATHERINE C. BLAKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
is Vernon Collins's Petition for Writ of Error Coram
Nobis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1651, seeking vacatur
often years of the twenty-year sentence imposed after his
conviction as a felon in possession of a firearm. (Pet. for
Writ of Error Coram Nobis at 11, ECF No. I).' The government filed a response in
opposition. (ECF No. 5). Collins filed a reply, and
thereafter filed a "supplement" to the petition and
to the reply. (ECF No. 7). No. hearing is necessary. See
Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For the following reasons,
the petition will be denied.
October 9, 1987, Collins was found guilty by a jury of one
count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to
distribute heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846; one
count of possession with intent to distribute heroin, in
violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1); and one count of
employing a minor to possess with intent to distribute
heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 845(a)(1) (now
codified at 21 U.S.C. § 861) (Counts One, Two, and
Three). See United States v. Taylor, 857 F.2d 210,
212 (4th Cir. 1988) (affirming, on direct appeal, the
convictions of Collins and his codefendant). Collins was also
found guilty of two counts of possession of a firearm by a
convicted felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)
(Counts Four and Five). Id. Collins was subject to
enhanced punishment under the Armed Career Criminal Act
("ACCA"), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). He faced a
mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years' imprisonment
on Counts Four and Five, based on three prior qualifying
convictions: a July 26, 1966, robbery conviction; an October
19, 1972, assault with intent to murder conviction; and a May
2, 1973, assault conviction. (Superseding Notice of Enhanced
Penalties, No. CCB-87-338, ECF No. 116-1).
November 24, 1987, the court sentenced Collins to fifteen
years on Counts One, Two, and Three, and twenty years without
parole on Counts Four and Five, for a total sentence of
thirty-five years. The United States Court of Appeals for the
Fourth Circuit affirmed the judgment of conviction on
September 13, 1988. Taylor, 857 F.2d at 215.
January 4, 2016, Collins filed a "Motion to Correct an
Illegal Sentence Pursuant to Former Rule 35(a) of the Federal
Rules of Criminal Procedure," which the court construed
as a Motion to Vacate under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. (No.
CCB-87-338, ECF Nos. 116, 117). Collins argued that, pursuant
to the Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United
States, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 2557 (2015), the sentence on his
§ 922(g) conviction was improperly enhanced under the
ACCA's residual clause. (Motion to Correct at 1-2, No.
CCB-87-338, ECF No. 116). In its response, the government
stated that Collins's presentence report (PSR) showed, in
addition to the three convictions originally used to classify
Collins as an Armed Career Criminal, three other qualifying
offenses. (Gov. Resp. at 3, No. CCB-87-338, ECF No. 121). On
this basis, the government argued that the Johnson
ruling did not change Collins's status as an Armed Career
7, 2016, the court denied Collins's § 2255 motion
because he had completed his federal sentence, noting that in
2005, he was released to a detainer to begin serving a New
Jersey State sentence. (No. CCB-87-338, ECF No.
127). Collins's appeal of this decision was
denied on January 5, 2017. United States v. Collins,
672 Fed.Appx. 302, 303 (4th Cir. 2017). On October 2, 2017,
the Supreme Court denied his Petition for Writ of Certiorari.
Collins v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 63, 2017 WL
1134351, at *1 (2017).
April 6, 2017, Collins filed this Petition for Writ of Error
Coram Nobis to challenge his "illegal enhanced sentence
that continues to subject him to remain on federal parole
until 2022 and causes or prevents his New Jersey State
enhanced sentence of life imprisonment with twenty-five years
parole ineligibility to commence from 2001." (Pet. at 4,
ECF No. 1).
writ of error coram nobis is an extraordinary remedy that may
be used to correct a fundamental error in a criminal
conviction "presenting circumstances compelling its use
to achieve justice." United States v. Denedo,
556 U.S. 904, 911 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted);
see also United States v. Akinsade, 686 F.3d 248,
252 (4th Cir. 2012). Relief is limited to petitioners who are
no longer in custody pursuant to their convictions and for
whom relief is no longer available by way of an alternative
remedy, such as habeas corpus. See Denedo, 556 U.S.
at 911; Akinsade, 686 F.3d at 252. Coram nobis is
available only to remedy "factual errors material to the
validity and regularity of the legal proceeding
itself[.]" Carlisle v. United States, 517 U.S.
416, 429 (1996) (quoting United States v. Mayer, 235
U.S. 55, 67-68 (1914)) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Although federal courts may grant relief from a conviction by
issuing a writ of coram nobis after a petitioner has
completed his sentence, see 28. U.S.C. § 1651
(2006); United States v. Morgan, 346 U.S. 502,
512-13 (1954), the Supreme Court has stated that "it is
difficult to conceive of a situation in a federal criminal
case today where a writ of coram nobis would be necessary or
appropriate." Carlisle, 517 U.S. at 429
(internal quotation omitted).
entitled to coram nobis relief, a petitioner must demonstrate
that "(1) a more usual remedy is not available; (2)
valid reasons exist for not attacking the conviction earlier;
(3) adverse consequences exist from the conviction sufficient
to satisfy the case or controversy requirement of Article
III; and (4) the error is of the most fundamental
character." United States v. Bazuaye, 399
Fed.Appx. 822, 824 (4th Cir. 2010) (citing Hirabayashi v.
United States, 828 F.2d 591, 604 (9th Cir.
1987)); see also Withanachchi v. United
States, 803 F.Supp.2d 360, 364 (D. Md. 2011). When
reviewing a petition for a writ of coram nobis, the court
presumes that the underlying proceedings were correct, and
the burden of showing otherwise rests on the petitioner.
See Morgan, 346 U.S. at 512.
has met the first requirement for coram nobis relief, as he
is no longer in federal custody and cannot seek relief under
the typical remedies for a direct appeal or collateral
challenge to his federal sentence. However, Collins cannot
meet the second requirement. He baldly asserts that he has
met his burden to overcome the presumption that his
conviction was correct,  but provides no reason for not
challenging the sentence earlier. (Pet. at 9-10, ECF No. 1).
the third requirement for coram nobis relief, Collins must
demonstrate that "adverse consequences exist from the
conviction sufficient to satisfy the case or controversy
requirement of Article III." Bazuaye, 399
Fed.Appx. at 824. Specifically, Collins must show that
"his claim is ripe and he is currently suffering a
concrete injury as a result of his ACCA sentence."
Withcmachchi, 803 F.Supp.2d at 368. Collins argues
that, but for his enhanced federal sentence, he would have
been released with good conduct time upon mandatory release
from federal custody in 2001. (Pet. at 10, ECF No. 1).
Collins provides no evidence to substantiate this allegation.
claim of "adverse consequences" is premised on a
Certificate of Parole, dated November 8, 2000, which states
that he was to be paroled on July 10, 1993, and was to
"remain within the limits of to and including July 10,
2022." (Certificate of Parole, ECF No. 1-4). The
government disputes Collins's interpretation of his
federal parole, (Gov. Resp. at 3 n.4, ECF No. 5), and has
provided a copy of the United States Parole Commission
("USPC") Certificate of Mandatory Release, dated
May 24, 2005, (Gov. Resp. Ex. 1, ECF No. 5-1). The
Certificate of Mandatory Release states that upon release on
June 20, 2005, Collins was to remain under USPC jurisdiction
"as if on parole" until January 10, 2013.
(Id.). Collins counters that the later-issued
document, the Certificate of Mandatory Release, is not an