United States v. Nichols, No. 17-5580 (6th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
In 2004, Defendant was convicted for felon in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1)(e); his statutory maximum sentence was 10 years’ imprisonment. The court sentenced Defendant to 24 years, under the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e), which overrode the statutory maximum and required a minimum of 15 years’ imprisonment. While incarcerated, Defendant was convicted for conspiracy to distribute heroin, 21 U.S.C. 846, 841(b)(1)(C); possession of heroin by an inmate, 18 U.S.C. 1791(d)(1)(C); and conspiracy, section 371, and was sentenced to an additional 151 months, to be served consecutively to his existing term. In 2015, the Supreme Court invalidated the ACCA’s residual clause and later held that the rule applies retroactively. Defendant sought resentencing under 18 U.S.C. 2255. The court found the motion meritorious, but rather than conducting a full resentencing proceeding, corrected Defendant’s sentence by memorandum opinion. Defendant had already served 12 years. His Guidelines range, absent the ACCA enhancement, was 51-63 months. Believing that a period of over-incarceration can be calculated and credited toward a consecutive sentence, Defendant asked the court to impose a Guidelines-range sentence--a specific term of months. The court instead imposed a corrected sentence of “time served.” The Sixth Circuit vacated. The district court could not lawfully impose a sentence of more than 10 years’ imprisonment; “time served” equated to a term in excess of the statutory maximum. The sentence was procedurally and substantively unreasonable.