United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER GRANTING REQUEST FOR STAY
C. NIVISON, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Respondent's request to
stay one of the several claims asserted in Petitioner's
28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion. (ECF No. 361 at 12.) One issue in
this case is whether the United States Supreme Court's
decision in Johnson v. United States, ___ U.S. ___,
135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), applies retroactively to cases in
which a criminal defendant challenges collaterally a sentence
imposed in accordance with the United States Sentencing
Guidelines. The issue is the subject of an appeal before the
Supreme Court in Beckles v. United States, No.
15-8544. The Supreme Court held oral argument in the matter
on November 28, 2016.
support of its request for a further stay, Respondent
contends that even if Johnson applies retroactively
to collateral challenges to sentences imposed pursuant to the
Sentencing Guidelines, and even if Petitioner's challenge
to the sentence is successful, given the applicable
Guidelines sentencing range, Petitioner would not be entitled
to immediate release. Respondent, therefore, argues that the
matter should be stayed until the Supreme Court, in
Beckles, decides the threshold issue of the
applicability of Johnson to a Guidelines sentence.
District Court has discretion to grant a temporary stay.
Good v. Altria Grp., Inc., 624 F.Supp.2d 132, 134
(D. Me. 2009). “Generally, in evaluating whether to
issue a stay, a court will consider three factors: (1)
potential prejudice to the non-moving party; (2) hardship and
inequity to the moving party without a stay; and, (3)
judicial economy.” Id.
review of the record in this case suggests that a stay of
Petitioner's Johnson claim is appropriate.
Because the Supreme Court presumably will decide in its
current term whether Johnson applies to a Guidelines
sentence, and because the time Petitioner has served to date
does not exceed the minimum sentence within the apparent
Guidelines range even if Petitioner is successful on what
appears to be his strongest argument in support of a
Johnson claim, Petitioner will not be prejudiced if
the matter is stayed for a relatively short time to permit
the Supreme Court to decide Beckles. In addition,
because the Supreme Court could soon resolve the threshold
issue on Petitioner's Johnson claim, judicial
economy militates in favor of a stay. The Court, therefore,
grants Respondent's request and stays Petitioner's
Johnson claim until further order of the Court or
until the Supreme Court decides the appeal in
Beckles, whichever date is earlier. If for some
reason the Supreme Court does not decide Beckles
during its current term, the Court will consider whether the
stay should continue. The stay is limited to Petitioner's
Johnson claim, and does not apply to
Petitioner's other claims.
objections to this Order shall be filed in accordance with
Fed. R. Crim. P. 59 and Fed.R.Civ.P. 72.
 Petitioner states that he filed his 28
U.S.C. § 2255 motion in March 2015; in the motion, he
alleged several claims. (Motion, ECF No. 287.) In May 2016,
he submitted an additional claim under Johnson v. United
States, --- U.S. ---, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). (ECF Nos.
335, 336.) The Government requested a stay, pending the
Supreme Court's decision in Beckles v. United
States, No. 15-8544. (Motion, ECF No. 343.) The Court
granted the stay, but permitted Petitioner to request relief
from the stay if he believed he would be entitled to
immediate release if the Supreme Court's decision in
Johnson applied retroactively to collateral
challenges to sentences imposed pursuant to the Sentencing
Guidelines. (Order, ECF No. 346.) Petitioner requested relief
from the stay. (Motion, ECF No. 347.) The Court lifted the
stay to permit briefing on the Johnson issue.
(Order, ECF No. 358.) The Government filed a response, and
Petitioner replied. (Response, ECF No. 361; Reply, ECF Nos.
364, 366.) As part of its response, the Government asked the
Court to reinstate the stay. (Response at 12.)
 Although the Government argues that a
successful challenge would likely not alter the sentence
(Response at 12), a review of the parties' submissions
reveals that, depending on the Supreme Court's decision
in Beckles, Petitioner might have a Johnson
claim as to the prior Virginia conviction at issue. If
Petitioner were to succeed on the Johnson claim, and
if there are no other changes at a re-sentencing, the
applicable Guidelines range would appear to start at 84
months. The record suggests Petitioner has served