United States District Court, W.D. Washington
CHAUNCEY L. WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO VACATE, SET
ASIDE, OR CORRECT SENTENCE
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Petitioner Chauncey L.
Williams's (“Williams”) motion to vacate, set
aside or correct sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.
Dkt. 1. The Court has considered the pleadings filed in
support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder
of the file and hereby denies the motion for the reasons
January 24, 2013, Williams was convicted of armed postal
robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2114(a). CR11-5505,
Dkts. 213, 246. Williams was also convicted of brandishing a
weapon in furtherance of a crime of violence in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii). Id. The Court
calculated Williams's Sentencing Guidelines range as 63-
78 months on the armed postal robbery charge and a mandatory
consecutive minimum of 84 months on the “brandishing in
furtherance” charge, for an effective total range of
147 to 162 months. Id., Dkt. 274 at 8. On February
10, 2014, the Court sentenced Williams below the guidelines
range to 120 total months of imprisonment. Id.,
Dkts. 245, 246.
24, 2016, Williams filed the instant petition. Dkt. 1.
Williams argues that his conviction under 18 U.S.C. §
924(c)(1)(A)(ii) was unconstitutional on the basis that armed
postal robbery is not a “crime of violence” under
18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3). Id. He seeks relief
under Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551
(2015) (“Johnson II”), and Welch v.
United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (2016). Id. On
November 14, 2016, the Government responded. Dkt. 10. The
Government opposes Williams's motion on numerous
procedural grounds and also argues that Johnson II
is inapplicable to Williams's sentence. Id. On
December 13, 2016, Williams replied. Dkt. 13.
February 15, 2017, the Court requested supplemental briefing
in light of the Ninth Circuit's previous ruling in
United States v. Hasan, 983 F.2d 150 (9th Cir.
1992). In Hasan, the Ninth Circuit determined that
postal robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 2114(a) categorically
qualifies as a crime of violence under the elements clause of
U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(1). Id. at 151.
February 27, 2016, Williams filed supplemental briefing. Dkt.
15. On March 7, the Government filed its supplemental
briefing. Dkt. 18. On March 17, 2017, Williams replied. Dkt.
argues that his sentence is unconstitutional on the basis
that he was wrongly convicted under 18 U.S.C. §
924(c)(1)(A)(ii). “When collaterally attacked, [a]
judgment of a court carries with it a presumption of
regularity.” Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458,
468 (1938). Therefore, the burden is on Williams to
establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that his
“sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution
or laws of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. §
2255(a). See also Zerbst, 304 U.S. at 468-69;
Simmons v. Blodgett, 110 F.3d 39, 41-42 (9th Cir.
convicted under § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii), a defendant must
have “brandished” a firearm in furtherance of a
predicate drug trafficking crime or a “crime of
violence.” 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii). Williams
argues that his conviction under 18 U.S.C. §
924(c)(1)(A)(ii) should be vacated on the grounds that the
“residual clause” of 18 U.S.C. §
924(c)(3)(B) is unconstitutional under Johnson II
and, consequently, armed postal robbery is no longer a
predicate “crime of violence” under §
Johnson II, the Court determined that the residual
clause under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii) of the Armed
Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) is void for
unconstitutional vagueness. 135 S.Ct. 2551. The ACCA residual
The term “violent felony” means any crime
punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, . .
. that . . . is burglary, arson, or extortion, involves use
of explosives, or otherwise involves conduct that
presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to
18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii) (emphasis added). Williams
relies on Johnson II and the Ninth Circuit's
reasoning in Dimaya v. Lynch, 803 F.3d 1110 (9th
Cir. 2015), cert. granted, 137 S.Ct. 31 (2016), to
argue that the residual clause of § 924(c)(3)(B) is
likewise unconstitutionally vague. Similar to the ACCA, the
§ 924(c)(3) residual clause provides:
For the purposes of this subsection, the term “crime of
violence” means an offense that is a felony and . . .
that by its nature, involves a substantial risk that
physical force against the person or property of another may
be used in the course of committing the offense.
18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3) (emphasis added).
before the Court determines whether the § 924(c)(3)(B)
residual clause is unconstitutional under Johnson
II, the Court may first consider whether §
924(c)(3)(B) is applicable to Williams's sentence. To do
so, Williams must show that his armed postal robbery
conviction was categorized as a crime of violence under the
residual clause, as opposed to the elements clause of §
924(c)(3)(A). See Knox v. United States, C16-5502
BHS, 2017 WL 347469, at *2 (W.D. Wash. Jan. 24, 2017);
Doriety vs. United States, 2:16-cv-00924-JCC, Dkt.
12 (W.D. Wash. 2016).