Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Lenihan

United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division

November 28, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff/Respondent,
v.
JAMES DENNIS LENIHAN, III, Defendant/Movant.

          ORDER DENYING § 2255 MOTION AND GRANTING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          Brian Morris United States District Court Judge

         This case comes before the Court on Defendant Lenihan's motion to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Lenihan is a federal prisoner proceeding with counsel. The Court conducted a hearing on Lenihan's motion on November 1, 2017. (Doc. 107.) Counsel argued on behalf of Lenihan and the United States.

         I. Background

         A jury convicted Lenihan on April 12, 2006, of carjacking, a violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2119(1) and (2) (Count 1); brandishing a firearm during and in relation to carjacking, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) (Count 2); and possessing a firearm after having been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9) (Count 3). Indictment (Doc. 1 at 2); Verdict (Doc. 57 at 1-2); Jury Instrs. (Doc. 60 at 21.) The Court sentenced Lenihan on August 24, 2006, to serve 96 months on Counts 1 and 3, to run concurrently, and a consecutive term of 84 months on Count 2. Minutes (Doc. 70); Judgment (Doc. 72 at 2-3.) The Ninth Circuit affirmed Lenihan's conviction and sentence on May 30, 2007. See Mem. (Doc. 91-1 at 3), United States v. Lenihan, No. 06-30488 (9th Cir. May 30, 2007).

         Lenihan now seeks relief under the United States Supreme Court's recent decision in Johnson v. United States, __ U.S. __, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). See also Welch v. United States, __ U.S. __, 136 S.Ct. 1257, 1265 (2016) (holding that Johnson applies to cases already final when it was issued).

         II. Procedural Defenses

         The United States's procedural defenses, see Resp. to § 2255 Mot. (Doc. 100 at 10-17), stand or fall with the same question as the merits of the § 2255 motion- i.e., whether Johnson applies to Lenihan's motion. If Johnson does not support relief, the United States does not need to rely on its procedural defenses. The question is whether Johnson supports relief for Lenihan.

         III. 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)

         The Supreme Court in Johnson considered the meaning of a provision in the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). The ACCA imposes a harsher sentence on a person convicted of a firearms offense if the person has three prior convictions for a violent felony or controlled substance offense. The Act defines a “violent felony” as a felony that includes the following:

(i) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another; or
(ii) is burglary, arson, or extortion, involves use of explosives, or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another[.]

18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B). Johnson discussed only the italicized clause, commonly called the “residual” clause.

         The Supreme Court determined the residual clause to be vague to the extent that it deprived defendants of fair notice of the consequences of their decisions and so loose that it invited arbitrary enforcement by sentencing judges. Federal sentencing courts may no longer enhance a defendant's sentence based on a prior conviction when that conviction qualifies as a “violent felony” only under the residual clause. See Johnson, 135 U.S. at 2555-60, 2563. Johnson did not address either subsection (i), or the first line of subsection (ii) in § 924(e)(2)(B). Those provisions remain valid law.

         IV. 18 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.