Grant of Petition for Relief From Enhanced Federal Sentence Reversed

By FindLaw Staff on July 21, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

US v. Pettiford, 09-4119, concerned the government's challenge to the district court's order granting defendant's petition for post-conviction relief from the enhanced federal sentence of 188 months' imprisonment and reducing the sentence to a term of 100 months' imprisonment in a prosecution of defendant for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

In reversing and remanding the matter with instruction to reinstate the origianl sentence, the court held that the district court erred in granting defendant's petition because he did not show, nor could he show, that the vacated sentences alone rendered his federal sentence unlawful on one of the specified grounds.  The court also held that by failing to challenge his remaining predicate sentences at sentencing or on direct appeal, defendant procedurally defaulted on this claim that the district court improperly enhanced his sentence under the ACCA.  Lastly, the court held that under Maybeck, actual innocence applies in the context of habitual offender provisions only where the challenge to eligibility stems from actual innocence of the predicate crimes.

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