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Lopez v. United States

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

October 2, 2019

HECTOR LOPEZ, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR VACATION AND IMMEDIATE RELEASE

          ALAN C. KAY, SR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Petitioner Hector Lopez has filed a Letter/Motion for the Holloway Doctrine through which he seeks the Court vacate his sentence as to Counts 1, 2, and 4, deem his time served as to Count 5, and grant him immediate release. ECF No. 331. For the reasons set forth below, the Court hereby DENIES Petitioner's Motion.

         BACKGROUND

         On October 8, 1997, Petitioner was charged by a federal grand jury with conspiracy to distribute more than 1 kilogram of heroin, relieving and assisting co-defendant Francisco Davalos in the use and possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime which resulted in the murder of Arturo Renteria-Hernandez, and carrying and using a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and causing the first degree murder of Renteria-Hernandez. ECF No. 1. On July 29, 1997, the indictment was superseded to charge Petitioner with: Count 1: Conspiracy to Distribute 1 kilogram or more of Heroin; Count 2: Conspiracy to Distribute more than 100 grams of Heroin; Count 4: Rendering Aid and Comfort to Francisco Davalos that Davalos Had Committed the Murder of Arturo Renteria-Hernandez; and Count 5: Carrying and Using a Firearm During and In Relation to the Count 2 Drug Trafficking Conspiracy, and in the Course of that Violation Committing the First Degree Murder of Armando Renteria-Hernandez. ECF No. 207.

         On September 25, 1998, following a 9-day jury trial, Petitioner was convicted of Counts 1, 2, 4, and 5. ECF No. 247. On April 19, 1999, Petitioner was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 151 months for Counts 1, 2, and 4, to be served concurrently, and life imprisonment for Count 5, to run consecutive to the 151-month sentence for the other counts. ECF No. 271.

         On July 2, 2015, Petitioner filed a Motion for Sentence Reduction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) and Amendment 782 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines. ECF Nos. 314, 315. The Court held Petitioner did not qualify for a sentence reduction pursuant to Amendment 782 in light of his mandatory minimum sentence of life imprisonment for his conviction on Count 5, and the Court denied the Motion. ECF No. 321.

         On June 27, 2016, Petitioner filed a Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody. ECF No. 322. Petitioner contended that he qualified for relief pursuant to the Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2016), wherein the Court held that the “residual clause” of the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) of 1984 was unconstitutionally vague and a sentence imposed pursuant to that clause was therefore unconstitutional. ECF Nos. 322, 328. This Court denied Petitioner's motion, holding that Petitioner's sentence was not based on the ACCA, nor did Petitioner assert any arguments that the statutes for which he was convicted contained unconstitutionally vague elements. ECF No. 328. The Court denied a certificate of appealability because “reasonable jurists could not find the Court's ruling debatable.” ECF No. 328.

         On June 10, 2019, Petitioner filed the instant Letter/Motion for the Holloway Doctrine. ECF No. 331. Petitioner asks the Court vacate his sentence as to Counts 1, 2, and 4, deem his time served as to Count 5, and grant him immediate release. Id. On June 14, 2019, the Court entered an Order directing the Government to file a response by July 14, 2019 and providing Petitioner the option to file a reply within fifteen days of service of the Government's response. ECF No. 335. The Government filed a Response on July 9, 2019. ECF No. 336. Petitioner did not file a Reply. Pursuant to District of Hawaii Local Rule 7.1(d), the Court finds it appropriate to decide the instant matter without a hearing.

         DISCUSSION

         Petitioner seeks to reduce his sentence under what is being called the “Holloway Doctrine.”[1] This district court has explained its “limited authority to modify a sentence once it has been imposed.” Acuna v. United States, No. 07-00615 SOM, 2016 WL 3747531, at *2 (D. Haw. July 8, 2016); see also United States v. Diaz, No. CR 09-00294 LEK, 2018 WL 4119900, at *1 (D. Haw. Aug. 29, 2018) (quoting same). Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)

a judgment of a conviction including a sentence to imprisonment is final and may only be modified in three instances: 1) upon motion of the Director of the Bureau of Prisons; 2) pursuant to a motion by the Government under Rule 35(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure; and 3) pursuant to a sentencing range lowered by United States Sentencing Commission pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 994(o). Under Rule 35(a) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, a court may correct a sentence that resulted from arithmetical, technical, or other clear error only within 14 days after sentencing.
Holloway attempts to get around these limitations so as to permit a reduction of sentence in the “interest of fairness.”

Acuna, 2016 WL 3747531 at *2; see also Diaz, 2018 WL 4119900 at *1-2 (quoting same).

         I. The ...


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