Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, June 27, 2016

Williams: No SOS grant because of life sentence on other count

In In Re: Dennis Williams, No. 16-13013-J (June 24, 2016), the Court recognized that an applicant’s motion for leave to file a second or successive § 2255 motion made out a prima facie case as to one count of conviction. But, because Williams had been sentenced to a concurrent term of life on another count he could not show that he could “benefit” from § 2255 relief, and the Court consequently denied the application. Williams was sentenced for drug trafficking, and under 21 U.S.C. § 851, was subject to a life term for a repeat drug trafficking offender. This sentence was not subject to a post-Johnson challenge. He was also sentenced as a career offender, but he could not, under Eleventh Circuit precedent, challenge his career offender designation even post-Johnson. Thus, while Williams’ sentence under another count of conviction could be challenged post-Johnson, this challenge would be “futile” in view of Williams § 851 sentence, and his career offender status.