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United States v. Wilson

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

January 31, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff/Respondent,
v.
CHEBON JOE WILSON, Defendant/Movant.

          Chebon J. Wilson Movant/Defendant pro se

          James D. Tierney Acting United States Attorney Shana B. Long Assistant United States Attorney Attorneys for the Respondent/Plaintiff

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court, under rule 4(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings, on: (i) the Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody, filed on June 16, 2016 (CIV Doc. 1; CR Doc. 51)(“Motion”); and (ii) on the Amended Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody, filed November 28, 2016 (CIV Doc. 6; CR Doc. 55)(“Amended Motion”). Defendant/Movant Chebon Wilson seeks to vacate and correct his sentence: (i) under Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015)(“Johnson”); and (ii) because of an alleged misunderstanding of his plea agreement. The Court determines that Wilson is not eligible for relief under Johnson and that his plea-agreement claim is time-barred. The Court accordingly will dismiss the Motion and the Amended Motion.

         FACTUAL AND LEGAL BACKGROUND

         On March 25, 2010, Wilson was charged with unlawfully engaging in sexual acts with two children, ages 6 and 8, on the Navajo Indian Reservation. See Criminal Complaint at 1, filed March 25, 2010 (CR Doc. 1)(“Complaint”). A Grand Jury subsequently indicted Wilson on two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1153, 2241(c), and 2246(2)(C). See Indictment at 1-2, filed April 14, 2010 (CR Doc. 15). A subsequent Information charged him with abusive sexual contact in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1153, 2244(a)(5), and 2246(3). See Information at 1, filed August 2, 2010 (CR Doc. 32)(“Information”). On August 2, 2010, Wilson entered into a plea agreement under rule 11(c)(1)(C) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure in which he pled guilty to the Information's abusive sexual contact -- 18 U.S.C. §§ 1153, 2244(a)(5), and 2246(3). See Plea Agreement ¶ 3, at 2, filed August 2, 2010 (CR Doc. 35)(“Plea Agreement”). Wilson stipulated to a 10 to 12 year sentence range (120 months to 144 months). See Plea Agreement § 10.a, at 4.Although Wilson's guidelines imprisonment range was 262 to 327 months, the Court accepted the Plea Agreement and sentenced Wilson to 142 months imprisonment. See Judgment in a Criminal Case at 2, filed January 27, 2011 (CR Doc. 48)(“Judgment”). In sentencing Wilson, the Court stated:

The Court has considered the specific sentencing range that the parties agreed to in the plea agreement and has compared it to the sentencing range set forth in the guidelines. After careful consideration, the Court has decided that a realistic sentence is something in the ten-year range. A ten-year sentence is still less than half the mandatory minimum sentence Wilson would have faced had he gone to trial. See 18 U.S.C. § 2241(c) . . . A ten-year sentence is needed to reflect the harm that Wilson inflicted on two young girls. Because Wilson may receive good time and credit for the Bureau of Prison's 500-hour drug and alcohol treatment program, for Wilson to really serve a ten-year sentence, something close to a twelve-year sentence is necessary. If the Court gives Wilson a ten-year sentence, he may serve only eight and a half years, which the Court believes is too low. The Court therefore believes that it should sentence Wilson to a sentence at the upper end of the sentencing range to which the parties agreed, which would realistically get Wilson to a ten-year sentence. The Court believes that a sentence of 142 months reflects the seriousness of the offense, promotes respect for the law, and provides just punishment.

Judgment at 2. Consistent with his Plea Agreement, Wilson did not file a direct appeal, see Plea ¶ 14, at 6-7, and his sentence became final in 2011, see Judgment at 1-7.

         On June 16, 2016, Wilson submitted a pro se letter motion inquiring about his eligibility for relief under Johnson and Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (2016) (“Welch”). See Motion at 1. Following the Court's Order, see Order at 1-2, filed September 6, 2016 (CIV Doc. 5), Wilson filed the Amended Motion. In his Amended Motion, Wilson added a claim that he was sentenced to a longer term than he agreed to in his Plea Agreement. See Amended Motion at 5. In addition, the Amended Motion again requested relief based on Johnson and Welch. Amended Motion at 13.

         LAW REGARDING JOHNSON V. UNITED STATES AND SECTION 2255 COLLATERAL REVIEW

         Section 2255 provides:

A prisoner in custody under a sentence of a court established by Act of Congress claiming the right to be released upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or Laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack, may move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(a). A one-year statute of limitations governs collateral review of convictions and sentences. See 28 U.S.C. § 2225(f). That statute of limitations shall run from the latest of --

(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final;
(2) the date on which the impediment to making a motion created by governmental action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the movant was prevented from ...

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