Petitioner, Willie D. Wren, was convicted of bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a), and was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment. Wren subsequently filed a motion to vacate sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, contending that in determining his sentence the district court took into consideration two allegedly invalid state convictions which appeared on his presentence report,
In Wren's case, the district court reviewed the record and found that the original sentence imposed was still "the appropriate sentence." It then went on to say:
The district court's finding falls short of the requirements of Brown v. United States, 483 F.2d 116 (4th Cir. 1973), which Stepheney reaffirms.
The question of the validity or invalidity of the prior convictions need not be reached unless the district court finds that the challenged convictions influenced the sentence it imposed. The district judge may decline to disturb the sentence if by actual recollection of his thoughts at the time of sentence or by reconstruction from the record "he can say with assurance that assumption of invalidity of the questioned prior convictions, if made at the time of sentencing, would not have resulted in a lighter sentence. . . ." Stepheney v. United States, supra, 516 F.2d at 9. In short, to terminate further inquiry, the district judge must be able to say either from recollection or reconstruction that had he known at the time of sentencing that the earlier convictions were invalid, he would have nevertheless imposed the same sentence. Because the district court did not view the proceedings in this light, its order denying Wren's motion to vacate the sentence is set aside, and this case is remanded to the district court for reconsideration.