United States District Court, S.D. Georgia
THOMAS BRYANT, JR. Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
Randal Hall, Judge
1998, the Honorable B. Avant Edenfield sentenced Defendant
Thomas Bryant, Jr. to serve life plus 300 years in prison
following his conviction at trial for one count of conspiracy
to aid and abet the distribution of cocaine, two counts of
attempting to aid and abet the distribution of cocaine, one
count of selling a stolen firearm, one count of providing a
firearm to a convicted felon, one count of distributing
cocaine, and two counts of carrying a firearm during a drug
trafficking crime. In 2001, Bryant filed the instant habeas
case seeking relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Judge
Edenfield denied the habeas petition on August 13, 2001, and
the case was closed.
April 18, 2018, Bryant filed a motion to reopen this habeas
proceeding, citing Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6).
The case was subsequently reassigned to the undersigned
habeas context, Rule 60(b) allows a party to seek relief from
a final judgment under a limited set of circumstances
including fraud, mistake, and newly discovered evidence.
Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524, 528-29 (2005). A
habeas petitioner must show "extraordinary
circumstances" to justify the reopening of a § 2255
case. Arthur v. Thomas, 739 F.3d 611, 628
(11th Cir. 2014). Here, Bryant does not assert
that a prior ruling of this Court was erroneous; in fact, he
admits that he is "guilty of those charges I was
convicted of" in a follow-up letter to the undersigned.
(Doc. 29, at 6.) Rather, Bryant attempts to persuade the
Court that his sentence is simply too harsh and that he has
rehabilitated himself to the extent that he should be
afforded leniency or even clemency. Because Bryant has not
asserted any ground upon which this Court should revisit or
reconsider the issues raised in his § 2255 petition, his
motion to reopen this habeas proceeding (doc. 26) is hereby
Bryant's plea to reduce his sentence, the Court cannot
reduce a sentence once it has been imposed except under three
limited exceptions, none of which apply here. See 18
U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). This Court has no other broad
inherent or residual power to reduce sentences. United
States v. Phillips, 597 F.3d 1190, 1194-95 (11th Cir.
2010) ("The authority of a district court to modify an
imprisonment sentence is narrowly limited by statute.").
Bryant cites a decision out of the Eastern District of New
York to support his supplication - United States v.
Holloway, 68 F.Supp.3d 310 (E.D.N.Y. 2014). In the
Holloway case, the United States Attorney for the
Eastern District of New York, upon the entreaty of the
sentencing judge, vacated two of Holloway's three 18
U.S.C. § 924(c) convictions because the resulting
sentence was unjustly severe. Id. at 314-15. The
United States Attorney also noted Holloway's
"extraordinary" record while in the custody of the
Bureau of Prisons. Id. at 315. Importantly, the
Holloway court observed that its decision was not a
threat to the rule of finality: "There are no floodgates
to worry about; the authority exercised in this case will be
used only as often as the Department of Justice itself
chooses to exercise it, which will no doubt be
sparingly." Id. at 316.
of criminal sentences is a hallmark principle of our judicial
system. See Johnson v. United States, 544 U.S. 295,
309 (2005) ("[T]he United States has an interest in the
finality of sentences imposed by its own courts.");
Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288, 309 (1989)
("Without finality, the criminal law is deprived of much
of its deterrent effect.") Even the Holloway
court recognized that there were "no legal avenues or
bases for vacating" Holloway's sentence. 68
F.Supp.3d at 314. Rather, the sentence reduction in
Holloway depended entirely upon the acquiescence of
the Government, i.e., by and through the prosecutorial
prerogative of the Department of Justice.
case, the Government has made clear that it does not consent
to granting relief to Bryant. Without the Government's
involvement, Holloway has no application here.
Further, the Court is constrained to note that
Holloway is a district court decision and has no
binding effect on this Court. Nor did Holloway
create an actionable new right under federal law. The
Eleventh Circuit has not even addressed the so-called
Holloway Doctrine. Simply put, Holloway in
no way controls this Court's ability or inclination to
reduce Bryant's sentence. Accord United States v.
Horton, No. 2:12-CR-00007-F1, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
78611 (E.D. N.C. June 16, 2016) (observing that the
Holloway Doctrine is not so much a doctrine as it is
"a single case carrying no precedential weight in this
 The Court subsequently reduced
Bryant's sentence to a total of 592 months in prison
following applicable amendments to the United States
Sentencing Guidelines. (Order of Sept. 8, 2015, Crim. ...