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United States v. Laster

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

March 5, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DAMIEN EARL LASTER, Defendant-Movant.

          ORDER

          VICKI MILES-LaGRANGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Defendant-Movant Damien Earl Laster (“Laster”), a federal prisoner, filed a Motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody on June 24, 2016. On October 17, 2016, plaintiff-respondent United States of America filed its response.

         I. Introduction

         On April 16, 2013, a grand jury returned an Indictment charging Laster with felon in possession of ammunition, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). On May 10, 2013, the government filed a notice seeking the mandatory imposition of sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(1), the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), based upon defendant's convictions for the following three Oklahoma felonies: (1) possession of crack cocaine/marijuana with the intent to distribute, (2) assault with a dangerous weapon, and (3) aggravated assault and battery. On June 6, 2013, Laster pled guilty to the Indictment. On March 4, 2015, this Court sentenced Laster to 180 months of incarceration under the ACCA. Laster did not appeal the Court's judgment or sentence.

         II. Discussion

         In his § 2255 motion, Laster asserts that in light of the United States Supreme Court's decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), he no longer qualifies as an armed career criminal under the ACCA sentencing enhancement and that his sentence should be vacated.

         The ACCA provides:

(e)(1) In the case of a person who violates section 922(g) of this title and has three previous convictions by any court referred to in section 922(g)(1) of this title for a violent felony or a serious drug offense, or both, committed on occasions different from one another, such person shall be fined under this title and imprisoned not less than fifteen years, and, notwithstanding any other provision of law, the court shall not suspend the sentence of, or grant a probationary sentence to, such person with respect to the conviction under section 922(g).
(2) As used in this subsection -
(A) the term “serious drug offense” means -
(i) an offense under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), the Controlled Substances Import and Expert Act (21 U.S.C. 951 et seq.), or chapter 705 of title 46, for which a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or more is prescribed by law; or
(ii) an offense under State law, involving manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to manufacture or distribute, a controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802)), for which a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or more is prescribed by law;
(B) the term “violent felony” means any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, or any act of juvenile delinquency involving the use or carrying of a firearm, knife, or destructive device that would be punishable by imprisonment for such term if committed by an adult, that-
(i) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the ...

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