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Moya v. United States

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

April 25, 2017

DOMINIC MOYA, Defendant-Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Respondent.



         THIS MATTER is before the Court on United States Magistrate Judge Carmen E. Garza's Proposed Findings and Recommended Disposition, (CV Doc. 14), filed January 23, 2017.[1] In the PFRD, Judge Garza recommended denying Petitioner Dominic Moya's Second or Successive Motion to Correct Sentence Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (the “Motion”), (CV Doc. 3), because Petitioner was not sentenced in reliance on the residual clause in United States Sentencing Guidelines (“U.S.S.G.” or “Guidelines”) § 4B1.2 (2010). (CV Doc. 14 at 5-8).

         The parties were notified that written objections to the PFRD were due within 14 days. (CV Doc. 14 at 8). Petitioner timely filed objections to the PFRD. (CV Doc. 15). Respondent United States of America did not object to the PFRD or respond to Petitioner's objections, and the time for doing so has passed. D.N.M.LR-Civ. 7.4(a). Following de novo review of Petitioner's objections, the PFRD and the record, the Court will adopt the PFRD, deny Petitioner's objections, and deny Petitioner's Motion.

         I. Background

         On January 11, 2010, Petitioner pled guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Five Grams or More of Cocaine Base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B). (CV Doc. 11 at 1). According to his presentence report (“PSR”), Petitioner qualified as a career offender under the Guidelines because he had “at least two prior felony convictions of . . . a crime of violence.” U.S.S.G. § 4B1.1 (2010); (CR Doc. 71 at 4-5). “Crime of violence” included any crime that “is burglary of a dwelling . . . or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious risk of physical injury to another.” U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(2) (2010). The latter, italicized portion of the definition is known as the residual clause. See U.S. v. Madrid, 805 F.3d 1204, 1210 (10th Cir. 2015).

         Petitioner's PSR determined that Petitioner's New Mexico convictions for residential burglary qualified as crimes of violence. (CV Doc. 11 at 14). In particular, Petitioner was convicted of “enter[ing] a dwelling house with intent to commit any felony or theft therein.” N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-16-3(A) (West 2016). The record is unclear whether the PSR or sentencing judge considered these convictions “burglary of a dwelling” or a crime of violence under the residual clause. Because Petitioner was found to be a career offender, his Guideline recommended range was 188-235 months. (CV Doc. 3 at 3). Without the career offender enhancement, his Guideline range would have been 92-115 months. (CV Doc. 3 at 3-4). Petitioner ultimately received a 180 month sentence pursuant to a plea agreement. (CV Doc. 11 at 2).

         Petitioner then challenged his sentence following the Supreme Court of the United States' decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). In Johnson, the Supreme Court held that the residual clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) was unconstitutionally vague and could not be used to increase a defendant's sentence. 135 S.Ct. at 2556-67. Petitioner argued, in part, that the identical residual clause in § 4B1.2 was also unconstitutionally vague. (CV Doc. 3 at 2); compare 18 U.S.C. 924(e)(2)(B) with U.S.S.G. § 4B1.2(a)(2) (2010). Further, Petitioner claimed residential burglary was not “burglary of a dwelling” as defined by the Guidelines, and that he was therefore deemed a career offender in reliance on the residual clause. (CV Doc. 3 at 2). Because he was sentenced in reliance on the residual clause, he argued, his sentence was unconstitutional.

         In the PFRD, Judge Garza broke Petitioner's argument into three issues: (1) whether “residential burglary” in New Mexico substantially corresponds with “burglary of a dwelling” in the Guidelines; (2) whether Johnson applies to the Guidelines; and (3) whether Johnson applied to Petitioner's particular case. (CV Doc. 14 at 3). Judge Garza concluded “residential burglary” and “burglary of a dwelling” substantially correspond, therefore Petitioner was not sentenced in reliance on the residual clause. (CV Doc. 14 at 5-9). Accordingly, Judge Garza recommended Petitioner's Motion be denied. (CV Doc. 14 at 9).

         On February 6, 2017, Petitioner timely objected to Judge Garza's findings and recommendation. (CV Doc. 15). Petitioner's sole argument is that “the District Court erred” by concluding residential burglary and burglary of a dwelling match. (CV Doc. 15 at 1). Here, as before, Petitioner maintains that the definitions do not match because residential burglary encompasses structures that are attached but not internally connected to a dwelling. (CV Doc. 15 at 3).

         One month after Petitioner objected, the Supreme Court decided Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886 (2017). In Beckles, the Supreme Court held that the Guidelines are not subject to vagueness challenges. 137 S.Ct. at 890. Consequently, Johnson does not apply to § 4B1.2(a)(2), and the Guidelines residual clause is not void for vagueness. Id.; see Id. at 892. After a de novo review of the record, the PFRD, and relevant law, the Court adopts Judge Garza's recommendation and denies Petitioner's Motion.

         II. Analysis

         Pursuant to Rule 8 of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings for the United States District Courts, a district judge may, under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), refer a pretrial dispositive motion to a magistrate judge for proposed findings of fact and recommendations for disposition. Within fourteen days of being served, a party may file objections to this recommendation. Rule 8(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings for the United States District Courts. A party may respond to another party's objections within fourteen days of being served with a copy; the rule does not provide for a reply. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b).[2]

         When resolving objections to a magistrate judge's recommendation, the district judge must make a de novo determination regarding any part of the recommendation to which a party has properly objected. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Filing objections that address the primary issues in the case “advances the interests that underlie the Magistrate's Act, including judicial efficiency.” U.S. v. One Parcel of Real Prop., With Bldgs., Appurtenances, Improvements, & Contents, 73 F.3d 1057, 1059 (10th Cir. 1996). Objections must be timely and specific to preserve an issue for de novo review by the district court or for appellate review. Id. at 1060. Additionally, issues “raised for the first time in objections to the magistrate judge's recommendation are deemed waived.” Marshall v. Chater, 75 F.3d 1421, 1426 (10th Cir. 1996); see also U.S. v. Garfinkle, 261 F.3d 1030, 1030-31 (10th Cir. 2001) (“In this circuit, theories raised for the first time in objections to the magistrate judge's report are deemed waived.”).

         First, the Court finds no error in Judge Garza's analysis and conclusion that “residential burglary” substantially corresponds with the generic definition of “burglary of a dwelling.” Petitioner convincingly argues that unconnected outbuildings are not included within the definition of “dwelling.” (CV Doc. 15 at 3-7). But New Mexico does not include unconnected buildings within its definition of “residence” or “dwelling.” State v. Ross, 1983-NMCA-065, ¶ 11, 665 P.2d 310, 313 (“Under the facts herein, the detached and non-contiguous garage did not constitute part of a dwelling house proper.”). And although New Mexico includes an attached but not internally connected garage, so do many other states. See, e.g., State v. Lara, 1978-NMCA-112, ¶¶ 3-6, 587 P.2d 52; State v. Ekmanis, 901 P.2d 1210, 1213 (“just as an attached garage or a basement is a lesser included structure of a residential structure, so is the storage room in this case.”); see also People v. Debouver, 205 Cal.Rptr.3d 318, 326-27 (Cal.Ct.App. 2016) (holding underground garage was a part of dwelling); State v. Taylor, 350 P.3d 525, 526 (Or. Ct. App. 2015) (holding that breezeway with no internal connection to a home was part of dwelling); State v. Moran, 324 P.3d 808 (Wash.Ct.App. 2014) (holding utility space below home was part of the “dwelling”); State v. Bryant, 775 So.2d 596, 602 (La. Ct. App. 2000) (holding “carport ...

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