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Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit issues significant opinion today

In Benjamin Price v. USA , an 8-page opinion involving an original proceeding "On Motion for an Order Authorizing the District Court to Entertain a Second or Successive Motion for Collateral Review", Chief Judge Wood writes:

In 2006, a jury convicted Benjamin Price, a convicted felon, of possessing a gun in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Turning to the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e), the court concluded that Price had three qualifying convictions and imposed a sentence of 250 months in prison. This court affirmed. United States v. Price, 520 F.3d 753 (7th Cir. 2008).

In 2009, Price filed his first collateral attack pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In his motion, he challenged the sentencing court’s determination that he qualified under ACCA as an armed career criminal. The Supreme Court’s decision in Begay v. United States, 553 U.S. 137 (2008), he argued, demonstrated that the sentencing court improperly relied on his prior convictions for criminal recklessness to enhance his sentence under ACCA’s residual clause because his prior crimes fell outside the scope of that clause. The district court denied relief, and we affirmed. Price v. United States, 434 F. App’x 550 (7th Cir. 2011).

Price now asks this court to authorize the district court to entertain a successive collateral attack, 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3), in which he proposes to assert a claim under Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015). Johnson holds that the imposition of an enhanced sentence under the residual clause of ACCA violates due process because the clause is too vague to provide adequate notice. Id. at 2557. We invited the government to respond, and it has done so. We now conclude, consistently with the government’s position, that Johnson announces a new substantive rule of constitutional law that the Supreme Court has categorically made retroactive to final convictions.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 4, 2015 02:04 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions