Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, October 05, 2015

Denson: No 2255 relief for career offender

In Denson v. U.S., No. 14-10211 (Sept. 30, 2015), the Court rejected the claim of a movant under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 who claimed that his counsel was ineffective for failing to claim that his prior conviction for possessing a sawed-off shotgun in violation of Fla. Stat. § 790.221(1) did not qualify as a “crime of violence” under the career offender Guideline. The Court that this argument would have been “meritless,” because it ran counter to the express language of the Guidelines. Further, the argument would not have found support in the Supreme Court’s Begay decision, because Begay interpreted the Armed Career Criminal Act, and the Guideline commentary differed from this statute because it designated the possession of a short-barreled shotgun as a crime of violence. Finally, the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Johnson, which held that the residual clause of ACCA was unconstitutionally vague, did not affect Denon, because Matchett recently held that vagueness doctrine does not apply to the advisory sentencing guidelines, and because counsel is not ineffective for failing to predict new developments in the law.