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Williams v. United States

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

September 30, 2016

DAVID VERDEN WILLIAMS, JR., Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent. Civ. No. 16-00158 SOM-RLP

          ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RELEASE ON BAIL PENDING THE ADJUDICATION OF PETITIONER'S § 2255 MOTION

          Susan Oki Mollway United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION.

         Relying on Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), and Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (2016), Defendant David Verden Williams has filed with this court a motion seeking relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Williams says his sentence should be shortened under the reasoning in Johnson that invalidated as unconstitutionally vague language in 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B), which is part of the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”). While not sentenced pursuant to the ACCA, Williams was sentenced as a career offender under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which include, at U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a), language identical to the language in 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B) that was invalidated in Johnson.

         Arguing that he may be overincarcerated if he prevails on his Johnson argument, Williams asks this court to release him on bail immediately. His motion for release is denied. Even if Williams may have exceptional circumstances given the possibility that he will be overincarcerated, that possibility is low, given his failure to show a likelihood of success on the merits. He therefore is not entitled to be released on bail pending the adjudication of his § 2255 motion.

         II. BACKGROUND.

         Pursuant to a Memorandum of Plea Agreement, Williams pled guilty to having committed a bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), which states:

Whoever, by force and violence, or by intimidation, takes, or attempts to take, from the person or presence of another, or obtains or attempts to obtain by extortion any property or money or any other thing of value belonging to, or in the care, custody, control, management, or possession of, any bank, credit union, or any savings and loan association . . .
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

See ECF Nos. 68, 69.

         Williams was sentenced on October 7, 2013, to 151 months in custody, and judgment was entered on October 11, 2013. See ECF Nos. 77, 79. His sentence reflected a career offender enhancement under the Sentencing Guidelines, given Williams's prior convictions. Under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a):

(a) A defendant is a career offender if (1) the defendant was at least eighteen years old at the time the defendant committed the instant offense of conviction; (2) the instant offense of conviction is a felony that is either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense; and (3) the defendant has at least two prior felony convictions of either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense.

         The issue raised by Williams is whether the offense of conviction, bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), is a crime of violence that, given his prior convictions, triggers the guideline enhancement for being a career offender under U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1(a)(2).[1]

         “Crime of violence” is defined in U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a):

(a) The term “crime of violence” means any offense under federal or state law, punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, that-
(1) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the ...

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