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United States v. Wilson

United States District Court, District of Columbia

February 7, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
RAYFIELD WILSON, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          EMMET G. SULLIVAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is defendant Rayfield Wilson's pro se motion to vacate, set aside, or correct a sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (“2255 motion” or “motion”). In 1994, Mr. Wilson was sentenced in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (“Superior Court”) for second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, and two other related charges. In 1995, he pled guilty to a federal drug conspiracy charge, and the federal district court ordered his federal sentence to run consecutive to any other sentence being served. Mr. Wilson did not appeal his federal conviction and sentence. More than twenty years after his federal judgment of conviction became final, Mr. Wilson now requests that his federal sentence be ordered to run concurrently with his Superior Court sentence.

         After careful consideration of Mr. Wilson's motion, the government's response, Mr. Wilson's reply thereto, the entire record herein, and the applicable law, the Court DENIES Mr. Wilson's motion.

         I. Background

         In August 1992, Mr. Wilson was charged in the Superior Court with two counts of first-degree murder while armed, in violation of D.C. Code §§ 22-2401, -3202; one count of assault with intent to kill while armed, in violation of D.C. Code §§ 22-501, -3202; one count of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of D.C. Code § 22-3204(b); and one count of carrying a pistol without a license, in violation of D.C. Code § 22-3204(a). See United States v. Wilson, No. 1992 FEL 012920 (D.C. Super. Ct.); see also Wilson v. United States, 691 A.2d 1157, 1158 (D.C. 1997) (per curiam).

         On August 26, 1993, a jury found Mr. Wilson guilty of second-degree murder while armed, voluntary manslaughter while armed, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and carrying a pistol without a license. See Wilson, 691 A.2d at 1158; see generally docket for Superior Court No. 1992 FEL 012920. At trial, three eyewitnesses testified that they saw Mr. Wilson kill two brothers, Anthony and Willie Ellis (“Ellis brothers”). Wilson, 691 A.2d at 1160. On February 4, 1994, Judge Curtis E. von Kann of the Superior Court sentenced Mr. Wilson to consecutive terms of fifteen years to life of imprisonment for second-degree murder and thirteen years to life for voluntary manslaughter; and concurrent terms of forty to 120 months for carrying a pistol without a license and five to fifteen years for possession of a firearm during a crime of violence. Id. at 1158 n.2; see generally docket for Superior Court No. 1992 FEL 012920. Mr. Wilson filed a timely appeal in that case, and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals affirmed his convictions on April 3, 1997. Wilson, 691 A.2d at 1158.

         On September 30, 1993, while awaiting sentencing in the Superior Court case, Mr. Wilson was indicted on two federal drug conspiracy charges in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. See Indictment, ECF No. 1 at 1-2.[1] It was alleged that Mr. Wilson engaged in the conspiracy on or about April 9, 1992. See id.; see also Superseding Information, ECF No. 12 at 1. On February 27, 1995, Mr. Wilson pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. See Plea Agreement, ECF No. 14 at 1. The charge carried a “penalty of not more than five years and a fine of not more than $10, 000, or both, and a special assessment of $50[.]” Id.

         On June 28, 1995, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson[2] sentenced Mr. Wilson to sixty months of incarceration, to run consecutive to any other sentence being served, followed by three years of supervised release and a special assessment of $50. See June 28, 1995 Docket Entry. The judgment of conviction was entered on June 29, 1995. See Judgment and Commitment, ECF No. 18. Mr. Wilson did not appeal his federal conviction and sentence to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”). See generally docket for Crim. Action No. 93-354.

         On November 20, 2017, Mr. Wilson filed the instant Section 2255 motion and his Motion for Leave to File and Memorandum of Facts and Law in Support of His Petition Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (“Def.'s Memo. of Law & Facts”). See Def.'s Mot. to Vacate, ECF No. 20 at 12; see also Def.'s Memo. of Law & Facts, ECF No. 19 at 19.[3] At the time he filed his motion, Mr. Wilson was a federal prisoner at the United States Penitentiary McCreary, which is located in Pine Knot, Kentucky and operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”). See Def.'s Mot. to Vacate, ECF No. 20 at 1 (“Place of Confinement: USP McCreary”); see also Def.'s Memo. of Law & Facts, ECF No. 19 at 19.

         On March 2, 2018, the Court ordered the government to respond to Mr. Wilson's motion, and the government filed its opposition on April 19, 2018. See Gov't's Opp'n, ECF No. 23. On April 25, 2018, Mr. Wilson filed a pro se motion for an extension of time to respond to the government's opposition and his pro se reply. See Def.'s Mot. for Extension of Time, ECF No. 24 at 1-2 (Mr. Wilson signed this motion on April 25, 2018); see also Def.'s Reply, ECF No. 24-1 (styled “Response to the United States Motion in Opposition”). On May 30, 2018, the Court granted Mr. Wilson leave to file a supplemental response by no later than August 1, 2018 and informed him that if he did not file a supplemental response, the Court would treat his response at ECF No. 24-1 as his only response to the government's opposition. He did not file a supplemental response. See generally docket for Crim. Action No. 93-354. Mr. Wilson's motion is now ripe and ready for the Court's adjudication.

         II. Analysis

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, a “prisoner in custody under sentence of a court” may “move the court which imposed the sentence to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence” if the prisoner claims “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.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a).

         Mr. Wilson argues that his due process rights were violated when the federal district court “erroneously” ordered his federal sentence to run consecutive to his Superior Court sentence. See Def.'s Mot. to Vacate, ECF No. 20 at 4. He urges this Court to follow the Supreme Court's ruling in Setser v. United States, 566 U.S. 231 (2012) and Amendments 776 and 787 to the United States Sentencing Guidelines, promulgated after Setser, to correct his federal consecutive sentence and impose a concurrent sentence. See Def.'s Memo. of Law & Facts, ECF No. 19 at 6-7. Mr. Wilson acknowledges a federal sentencing judge's authority to decide whether a federal sentence runs consecutively to or concurrently with other sentences that have already been imposed in state proceedings. See Id. at 8-10 (citing 18 U.S.C. § 3584(a); Setser, 566 U.S. at 236). Nevertheless, Mr. Wilson argues that his “distinct crimes” in the federal and Superior Court cases were “relevant conduct to each other” under the United States Sentencing Guidelines; thus, he argues that his federal sentence should run concurrently with his Superior Court sentence. See Id. at 3, 19.

         As an initial matter, the government argues that Mr. Wilson's motion is time-barred because he filed it outside of the one-year grace period that Congress imposed on Section 2255 motions with the enactment of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). See Gov't's Opp'n, ECF No. 23 at 3-4 (citing Mayle v. Felix, 545 U.S. 644, 654 (2005)). The government contends that Amendments 776 and 787, incorporated into U.S.S.G. § 5G1.3, generally provide that a criminal defendant “subject to an undischarged term of imprisonment or an anticipated state term of imprisonment shall be sentenced to concurrent terms of imprisonment if the two offenses involve ‘relevant conduct.'” Id. at 6 n.3. According to the government, these amendments do not apply to Mr. Wilson's federal conviction because both amendments do not apply retroactively. Id. The government further maintains that Mr. Wilson's federal and Superior Court offenses were not related or “relevant conduct” under the Sentencing Guidelines. See Id. at 6-7. The government points out that Mr. Wilson sold ...


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