Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Unpublished decisions

U.S. v. Bell, 2017 WL 2333090 (5/30/17) (Okl.) (unpub'd) - Mr. Bell can't get § 2255 relief even though the California felonies that were the basis for his sentence enhancement under 21 U.S.C. § 841 were reduced to misdemeanors under California's Proposition 47. The 10th says he can't get a certificate of appealability necessary for 10th jurisdiction because his claim was based on statutory, not constitutional, grounds. A constitutional ground is the only basis for an appealability certificate. The 10th rejects Mr. Bell's contention that his sentence violates due process and equal protection under yet another Johnson v. U.S. case, 544 U.S. 295, 303 (2005). In Johnson, the Court held a federal defendant could reopen a sentence where the defendant has successfully obtained the vacation of a prior conviction. In this case, Mr. Bell only got the conviction reduced to a misdemeanor, the 10th points out.

U.S. v. Schubert, 2017 WL 2333588 (5/30/17) (Okl.) (unpub'd) - The 10th rejects Mr. Schubert's argument that the complexity of the categorical approach renders the entirety of the ACCA's "violent felony" definition unconstitutionally vague. A lot of us could get on board with that argument. But the 10th says there could not be unconstitutional vagueness because the Supreme Court has applied the categorical approach for more than a quarter century. Of course, courts applied the residual clause for that long and it's no longer with us.