Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, February 05, 2021

Armstrong: Grant of Sentence Reduction Not a New and Intervening Judgment for Purposes of AEDPA's Bar on SOS Petitions

In Armstrong v. United States, No. 18-13041 (Feb. 5, 2021) (Wilson, Lagoa, Anderson), the Court held that  a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. Section 3582(c) does not constitute a new, intervening judgment for purposes of the bar on second or successive section 2255 motions under the AEDPA.  

Here, movant filed his first section 2255 motion in June 2014.  While that motion was pending, the district court sua sponte reduced movant's sentence based on Amendment 782 to the Sentencing Guidelines.  Following that reduction, the district court denied movant's section 2255 motion.  Movant then filed a second section 2255 motion in 2018, challenging his new sentence.  The district court denied this second section 2255 motion as unauthorized. 

The Court held that movant was required to get permission prior to filing his second section 2255 motion because it was second or successive.  It reasoned that because a sentence modification does not constitute a de novo resentencing, it does not constitute a new judgment, and therefore does not reset the count for purposes of AEDPA's bar on second or successive section 2255 motions.