United States Fourth Circuit

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US v. Pettiford, 09-4119

In a prosecution of defendant for being a felon in possession of a firearm, 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 is reversed and remanded where: 1) the district court erred in granting defendant's petition because he did not show, not could he show, that the vacated sentences alone rendered his federal sentence unlawful on one of the specified grounds; 2) 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; and 3) 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.

Appellate Information

  • Argued 03/24/2010
  • Submitted 07/21/2010
  • Decided 07/21/2010
  • Published 07/21/2010



  • United States Fourth Circuit