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Raymond v. United States

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 13, 2019

Travis Ryan Raymond Petitioner - Appellant
United States of America Respondent - Appellee

          Submitted: June 12, 2019

          Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - Minneapolis

          Before LOKEN, KELLY, and ERICKSON, Circuit Judges.

          Kelly, Circuit Judge.

         Travis Ryan Raymond received a mandatory minimum sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). Two years later, he filed a pro se petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 challenging the sentence. The district court concluded that Raymond did not qualify for the ACCA mandatory minimum but that it nonetheless was unable to grant relief because Raymond could not show a complete miscarriage of justice. Raymond appeals not from that order, but from an order denying his later, counseled motion for relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6). Because the district court was not precluded from granting Raymond relief, we vacate the district court's decision and remand the case for further proceedings.


         In 2014, Raymond pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C), and being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). The drug count carried a 20-year maximum term of imprisonment. The firearm count normally carried a 10-year maximum, but the district court found that five of Raymond's prior Minnesota convictions qualified as violent felonies under the ACCA, which increased the minimum term of imprisonment on the firearm count to 15 years. Raymond objected to the ACCA enhancement. The district court overruled the objection but encouraged Raymond to appeal the enhancement, noting that the Supreme Court would soon "be taking up this issue" in Johnson v. United States. It then sentenced Raymond to concurrent 15-year terms of imprisonment on both counts, which it explained was the mandatory minimum sentence allowed under the ACCA and thus the sentence "that no judge can go under." It also imposed a five-year term of supervised release.

         Raymond appealed, challenging the ACCA enhancement. In February 2015, this court affirmed the sentence, explaining that "convictions under the Minnesota statutes that Raymond violated are violent felonies under § 924(e)." United States v. Raymond (Raymond I), 778 F.3d 716, 717 (8th Cir. 2015) (per curiam). Four months later, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), holding the residual clause of the ACCA void for vagueness under the Fifth Amendment.

         In June 2016, Raymond filed a timely pro se petition to vacate his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, arguing that in light of Johnson, the ACCA enhancement no longer applied to him. The district court agreed with Raymond and the government that three of his prior Minnesota convictions-for third degree burglary, terroristic threats, and fleeing a police officer-do not qualify as violent felonies after Johnson, and therefore the ACCA enhancement does not apply to him and he "is not subject to the statutory mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years." United States v. Raymond (Raymond II), Crim. No. 14-26, 2017 WL 2483788, at *2 (D. Minn. June 8, 2017). But it concluded that nevertheless, Raymond was not entitled to relief because his 15-year sentence still fell within the sentencing range recommended by the United States Sentencing Guidelines on the drug count, so the denial of relief would not result in "a complete miscarriage of justice." Id. at *1, 3 (quoting United States v. Apfel, 97 F.3d 1074, 1076 (8th Cir. 1996)). Raymond subsequently filed a pro se motion for reconsideration, which the district court denied.

         Then, in February 2018, the district court appointed the federal defender to represent Raymond at the federal defender's request. Raymond, through counsel, filed a motion under Rule 60(b)(6) seeking reconsideration of his petition.[1] The district court denied the motion, explaining once again that because "the same sentence could be reimposed" at resentencing, Raymond had "failed to show there would be a complete miscarriage of justice if he is not granted relief." United States v. Raymond (Raymond III), Crim. No. 14-26, 2018 WL 1902724, at *5 (D. Minn. Apr. 20, 2018) (citing Sun Bear v. United States, 644 F.3d 700, 705 (8th Cir. 2011) (en banc)). But it granted Raymond a certificate of appealability on the issue. Raymond filed a notice of appeal on June 14, 2018.


         Because Raymond's notice of appeal was filed more than 60 days after the district court issued its initial order denying his § 2255 petition, our review is limited to the district court's denial of the Rule 60(b)(6) motion; we lack jurisdiction to review the original decision denying § 2255 relief. See Rule 11(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings; Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(4)(A). As a practical matter, the timing of Raymond's appeal affects our standard of review. Rather than reviewing the merits of the § 2255 decision de novo, we must review the district court's denial of the Rule 60(b)(6) motion for an abuse of discretion. Davis v. Kelley, 855 F.3d 833, 835 (8th Cir. 2017) (per curiam). "An error of law is necessarily an abuse of discretion." City of Duluth v. Fond du Lac Band of Superior Chippewa, 702 F.3d 1147, 1152 (8th Cir. 2013).

         Rule 60(b)(6) allows for relief only in "extraordinary circumstances." Buck v. Davis, 137 S.Ct. 759, 777-78 (2017) (quoting Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 535 (2005)). "In determining whether extraordinary circumstances are present, a court may consider a wide range of factors. These may include, in an appropriate case, 'the risk of injustice to the parties' and 'the risk of undermining the public's confidence in the judicial process.'" Id. at 778 (quoting Liljeberg v. Health Servs. Acquisition Corp., 486 U.S. 847, 863-64 (1988)). "'[A] good claim or defense' is a precondition of Rule 60(b)(6) relief." Id. at 780 (quoting 11 Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice and Procedure ...

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