Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Haynes v. United States

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Rock Island Division

January 25, 2017

STACY M. HAYNES, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          JOE BILLY McDADE, United States Senior District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on the Amended Motion Under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 To Vacate, Set Aside, Or Correct Sentence (Doc. 3) filed by Stacy M. Haynes (the “Petitioner”). The motion has been fully briefed and is ready for decision. For the reasons discussed below, the motion is GRANTED in Part and DISMISSED in Part. Mr. Haynes will be resentenced.

         I. PRELIMINARY PROCEDURAL CONSIDERATIONS

         The instant § 2255 motion (Doc. 3) is an amended successive motion. Petitioner filed an original § 2255 motion in April 2000 that this Court heard and denied. (See Doc.1, Haynes v. United States, No. 4:00-cv-4044 (C.D. Ill.)). Petitioner's first successive § 2255 motion (Doc. 1) only contained two claims that were presented to the Seventh Circuit for authorization to proceed in this court. Petitioner has since amended his first successive § 2255 motion to include two additional claims. Since they were not presented to the Seventh Circuit panel, the Government argues that they are unauthorized claims. Paragraph (4) of subsection (b) of 28 U.S.C. § 2244 clearly states that a district court shall dismiss any claim presented in a second or successive application that the court of appeals has authorized to be filed unless the applicant shows that the claim satisfies the requirements of this section. The term “application” is taken to refer to the habeas relief petition itself, but in this case the term refers to the § 2255 motion. See 2-28 Federal Habeas Corpus Practice and Procedure § 28.3. Nevertheless, a convicted prisoner is allowed to bring a successive attempt at habeas relief when such a prisoner's claim is based upon either a new rule of constitutional law or newly discovered evidence. 28 U.S.C. §§ 2244(b)(4), 2255(h)(2).

         Before addressing the issue of whether these two additional claims are unauthorized, there is another ancillary issue to be decided, which is whether this amended motion is even properly before the Court. The Amended Motion (Doc. 3) was made without leave of Court and without the written consent of the Government. Counsel for Petitioner was appointed in this matter pursuant to Administrative Order 15-mc-1016 (available at http://www.ilcd.uscourts.gov/court-info/local-rules-and-orders/general-orders (last visited January 24, 2017)). That Order does not state that amendments to the initial motion are presumptively allowed although one might assume that the amendment of a pro se prisoner's application for habeas corpus, which is what the § 2255 motion really is, would always naturally follow the appointment of counsel. Given the significance of the motion and the hurdles a petitioner must face if she leaves out a viable claim and tries to bring it up later in a subsequent action, there is great peril in leaving the pro se petitioner's pleading to stand without the input of the attorney appointed in the case.

         But 28 U.S.C. § 2242 provides that the application for habeas corpus “may be amended or supplemented as provided in the rules of procedure applicable to civil actions.” Rule 12 of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings for the United States District Courts provides that the “Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, to the extent that they are not inconsistent with any statutory provisions or these rules, may be applied to a proceeding under these rules.” Moreover, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure themselves also provide that they apply to proceedings for habeas corpus. Fed.R.Civ.P. 81(a)(4). The Seventh Circuit has specifically held that “[t]he rules governing § 2255 do not deal with amendments for collateral review and therefore proposed amendments to § 2255 motions are governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a).” Rodriguez v. United States, 286 F.3d 972, 980 (7th Cir. 2002); see also Mayle v. Felix, 545 U.S. 644 (2005) (holding the same).

         Rule 15(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a party to amend its pleading once as a matter of course within either twenty-one days after serving it, or if the pleading is one to which a responsive pleading is required, twenty-one days after service of a responsive pleading or twenty-one days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f), whichever is earlier. The first successive § 2255 motion (Doc. 1) was “served” upon Respondent on June 9, 2016 at the latest, which is when the Clerk added a specific Assistant United States Attorney to this action despite adding the United States of America as a party on June 6, 2016 when the action was opened and docketed. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 5; CDIL-LR 5.3. The Amended Motion (Doc. 3) was not filed within twenty-one days of June 9, 2016, but rather more than three months later on September 30, 2016.

         Despite that, Rule 15(a)(2) also provides that in all other cases, a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or leave of court. The docket does not reveal that the Government consented to the amendment and leave of court was not sought. However, the rule provides further that the Court is to freely give leave to amend a pleading when justice so requires. Given this permissive standard and the unique significance of the habeas application discussed above, the Court finds it would be manifestly unfair to disallow the Amended Motion at this point in time, especially when the Court arguably acquiesced to the Amended Motion by entering an order directing the Government to respond to it. In the future though, proper leave of court should be sought. With that out of the way, the Court now turns to the issue of whether these two additional claims are indeed unauthorized and thus not capable of being heard by this Court.

         Petitioner's first supplemental claim that he is actually innocent of the convictions for violating 18 U.S.C. § 1952 cannot be heard by this Court. The Seventh Circuit authorized Petitioner to move for relief for Johnson-related issues, not this stand-alone actual legal innocence claim. Because the Court sees little utility in forcing Petitioner to pursue this claim in a § 2241 petition in front of a court unfamiliar with the case-the court in the district where he is in custody-it has engaged in extensive research into whether it can retain jurisdiction over the claim. Alas, the Court has found no applicable exceptions. This claim does not fit into the exceptions carved out in §§ 2244(b) and 2255(h) because it clearly does not rely on a new rule of constitutional law nor does it rely on newly discovered evidence.

         The Court was tempted to turn to its own inherent ability to prevent miscarriages of justice in order to reach the claim. However, in United States v. Williams, 790 F.3d 1059, the Tenth Circuit thoroughly and convincingly explained why a district court lacks the authority to reach this type of unauthorized actual innocence claim in light of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (the “AEDPA”). That court explained that in McQuiggin v. Perkins, 133 S.Ct. 1924 (U.S. 2013)-a case where the Supreme Court held that in extremely rare circumstances, an actual innocence claim can overcome 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)'s one year statute of limitations-the Supreme Court recognized that where Congress had explicitly limited petitioners to evading certain procedural bars in certain statutory provisions of the AEDPA, “Congress clearly intended that courts may no longer invoke their common law miscarriage of justice authority to allow petitioners to bypass the relevant procedural bar” and the “courts must apply the exception as modified by Congress.” 790 F.3d at 1076 citing McQuiggin, 133 S.Ct. at 1934. The Williams court found that the AEDPA clearly modified the common law miscarriage of justice exception by imposing a clear and convincing burden of proof and by requiring preauthorization of successive applications for habeas relief from the appropriate courts of appeals. Id. at 1076. This Court finds the Williams court's explanation to be persuasive and concludes that it may not utilize the miscarriage of justice exception to reach Petitioner's actual innocence claim. The claim is hereby dismissed.

         Petitioner's second supplemental claim-that his robbery convictions under 18 U.S.C. § 1951 do not qualify as crimes of violence under post-Johnson 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)-was also not included in the first successive § 2255 motion (Doc. 1) given to the Seventh Circuit for authorization. However, it is clearly predicated upon Johnson and thus the Court believes it is based upon a new rule of constitutional law and well within the scope of the claims the Seventh Circuit authorized this Court to reach. The Court will hear it.

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         Section 2255 of Title 28 of the United States Code provides that a sentence may be vacated, set aside, or corrected “upon the ground that the sentence was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or that the court was without jurisdiction to impose such sentence, or that the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack.” “Relief under § 2255 is an extraordinary remedy because it asks the district court essentially to reopen the criminal process to a person who already has had an opportunity for full process.” Almonacid v. United States, 476 F.3d 518, 521 (7th Cir. 2007). Thus, § 2255 relief is limited to correcting errors of constitutional or jurisdictional magnitude or errors constituting fundamental defects that result in complete miscarriages of justice. E.g., Kelly v. United States, 29 F.3d 1107, 1112 (7th Cir. 1994), overruled on other grounds by United States v. Ceballos, 26 F.3d 717 (7th Cir. 1994). “A § 2255 motion is not a substitute for a direct appeal.” Coleman v. United States, 318 F.3d 754, 760 (7th Cir. 2003) (citing Doe v. United States, 51 F.3d 693, 698 (7th Cir. 1995)). Generally, a § 2255 motion must be filed within one year of the date the judgment against the petitioner became final. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(1); Clay v. United States, 537 U.S. 522, 527 (2003) (“Finality attaches when this Court... denies a petition for a writ of certiorari, or when the time for filing a certiorari petition expires.”). However, sub-paragraph (f)(3) provides that a § 2255 motion may be timely if it is brought within one year of the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(3).

         III. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Petitioner, Stacy M. Haynes, was convicted of several crimes after committing several armed robberies in the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois in the mid-nineties. Specifically, Petitioner was convicted of three counts of Hobbs Act robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951, three counts of interstate travel in aid of racketeering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1952, and six counts of using and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). The Government timely filed a notice of intent to seek a mandatory life sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c)(1) on each of the Hobbs Act robbery counts and the interstate travel in aid of racketeering counts. This Court found that Petitioner had the requisite number of prior serious violent felonies because he had twice been convicted of residential burglary in Illinois on two prior separate occasions. So it sentenced him accordingly after a jury convicted him. The following table will help keep straight what count corresponded to what offense and what sentence.

Count

Offense of Conviction

Sentence

§ 3559 Applies

1

Robbery of Illinois Hy-Vee in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951

Life

Yes

2

Use of a firearm in relation to Count 1 in violation of 18 U.S.C. §924(c)

5 years consecutive to life and each and every other 924(c) conviction

No

3

Travel in Violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1952 for robbing Eagle Food Centers in Iowa

Life

Yes

4

Use of a firearm in relation to Count 3 in violation of 18 U.S.C. §924(c)

20 years consecutive to life and each and every other 924(c) conviction

No

5

Travel in Violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1952 for robbing Jewel Food Store in Iowa

Life

Yes

6

Use of a firearm in relation to Count 5 in violation of 18 U.S.C. §924(c)

20 years consecutive to life and each and every other 924(c) conviction

No

8[1]

Robbery of Illinois K-Mart in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951

Life

Yes

9

Use of a firearm in relation to Count 8 in violation of 18 U.S.C. §924(c)

20 years consecutive to life and each and every other 924(c) conviction

No

10

Travel in Violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1952 for robbing Venture in Iowa

Life

Yes

11

Use of a firearm in relation to Count 10 in violation of 18 U.S.C. §924(c)

20 years consecutive to life and each and every other 924(c) conviction

No

12

Robbery of Illinois Hy-Vee in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951

Life

Yes

13

Use of a firearm in relation to Count 12 in violation of 18 U.S.C. §924(c)

20 years consecutive to life and each and every other 924(c) conviction

No

         Years passed and then in 2015 the Supreme Court held in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551, that the residual clause of 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii) was void for vagueness and later held in Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (U.S. 2016), that Johnson applies retroactively to cases on collateral review. Johnson announced a new rule of constitutional law and Welch explicitly made it retroactive to cases on collateral review. Johnson's rule was not announced until June 2015 and thus was previously unavailable to Petitioner for use in his initial § 2255 motion filed several years ago. Since Johnson was decided, the Seventh Circuit has held that the “residual clause” of 18 U.S.C. § 16(b) is unconstitutionally vague, United States v. Vivas-Ceja, 808 F.3d 719, 723 (7th Cir. 2015), the pre-August 1, 2016 Amendment “residual clause” of the United States Sentencing Guidelines § 4B1.2(a)(2) was unconstitutionally vague, United States v. Hurlburt, 835 F.3d 715, 721 (7th Cir. Aug. 29, 2016), and that 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)'s “residual clause” is also unconstitutionally vague. United States v. Cardena, 842 F.3d 959, 996 (7th Cir. 2016).

         IV. DISCUSSION

         A. 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c)(1) Enhanced Mandatory Life Sentence Applied to Counts 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, and 12.

         Recognizing the handwriting on the wall, Petitioner now moves to vacate his mandatory life sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c)(1) because that statute's definition of the term “serious violent felony” utilizes language almost identical to language that has been held to be unconstitutionally vague. See 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c)(2)(F)(ii). The Court found that Petitioner qualified for the enhanced sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3559 because he had Illinois residential burglary convictions that qualified as “serious violent felonies” but residential burglary is not one of the enumerated offenses in 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c)(2)(F)(i). Thus, they only qualified as “serious violent felonies” under 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c)(2)(F)(ii)'s “residual clause”. The Government concedes that if 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c)(2)(F)(ii)'s “residual clause” is found to be unconstitutional then Petitioner's residential burglaries could not qualify as serious violent felonies. It offers no meaningful opposition to Petitioner's claim as it recognizes both that the language at issue is almost identical to the language in the clauses that have been found unconstitutionally vague and that the Court is bound to follow circuit precedent.[2]

         Accordingly, the Court sees no reason to not follow circuit precedent and therefore finds that 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c)(2)(F)(ii)'s “residual clause” is so similar to the “residual clauses” at issue in Vivas-Ceja, Hurlburt and Cardena that this Court is compelled to conclude that it too is unconstitutionally vague. The Court's application of 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c) to Petitioner cannot stand. He must be resentenced on Counts 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, and 12. The Pre-sentence Investigation Report prepared for Petitioner calculated a total offense level of 37 and a criminal history category of VI, which placed Petitioner in the range of 360 months to life for Counts 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, and 12.

         B. Use and Carry of a Firearm 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) Offenses in relation to the Convictions for Violating 18 U.S.C. §§ 1951 and 1952: Counts 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, and 13.

         Petitioner's next claim is that his § 924(c) convictions for Counts 4, 6, and 11, which related to his interstate travel in support of racketeering convictions under 18 U.S.C. § 1952, must be overturned as well because of Johnson and subsequent cases applying Johnson's holding.

         Section 924(c) states in relevant part that “any person who, during and in relation to any crime of violence… uses or carries a firearm, or who, in furtherance of any such crime, possesses a firearm, shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such crime of violence” be subjected to some very severe penalties. “Crime of violence” was defined as an offense that is a felony and-

(A) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or
(B) that by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.

18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3). Cardena held that 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)'s residual clause is unconstitutionally vague under the principles set forth in Johnson. 842 F.3d at 996 (“we hold that the residual clause in 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(B) is also unconstitutionally vague.”). Thus, a crime of violence under § 924(c) can only be a felony that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another.

         Petitioner argues that the definition of “crime of violence” utilized in 18 U.S.C. § 1952 in his trial is the definition provided for in § 16(b) as it existed before Johnson and Vivas-Ceja were decided and thus includes the phrase “any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.” Petitioner argues further that the presence of this residual clause renders it broader than the post-Johnson, post-Cardena version of § 924(c)(3) and renders the two statutes incapable of matching up under the familiar categorical approach originally espoused in Taylor v. United States, 495 U.S. 575, 600 (1990) and later elucidated in Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016). In other words, viewing the definition of crime of violence as an element of the § 1952 offense, that element is broader than the definition of the 924(c) offense because the § 1952 offense encompassed the pre-Vivas-Ceja version of §16(b). Therefore, the two statutes do not match up under the categorical approach as explained by the Supreme Court in Mathis.

         The Government responds that Mathis is not properly applicable to this case. This is so because in Mathis, the court was concerned with whether a sentencing judge had properly determined whether the defendant had qualifying convictions for an enhanced sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). Whereas here, in contrast, a jury found that Petitioner had engaged in a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), the underlying offense being a Hobbs Act robbery that has the use of physical force against a person or property as an element. Moreover, each of Counts 1, 3, 5, 8, and 10 contained language that accused Petitioner of displaying a firearm while committing the offense.

         The Court sees no meaningful distinction between whether the sentencing judge or the jury made the finding. As most recently observed in Cardena, the categorical approach is utilized to determine whether a statute qualifies as a crime of violence under § 924(c). 842 F.3d at 997. The categorical approach is the same whether one is dealing with § 924(c), as here, or with § 924(e), as in Mathis. A finding was made that resulted in a penalty being assessed against the Petitioner. The only relevant inquiry is whether or not the finding was made with a proper definition of the “crime of violence” element.

         The Government explains that to convict Petitioner on the § 924(c) Counts 4, 6, and 11, the jury had to find beyond a reasonable doubt that he violated § 1952 by travelling interstate and committing the Hobbs Act robberies alleged in Counts 3, 5, and 10, each of which alleged that the crime of violence at issue was a “robbery” as that term is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1951(b)(1). (Doc. 7 at 17-18; see also United States v. Haynes, No. 96-cr-40034, Doc. 5 at 2-4, 7).

         So now, the discussion segues into Counts 3, 5, and 10 and the statutory definition of the term “robbery.” Petitioner also claims that his § 924(c) violations in relation to his three Hobbs Act robbery convictions under 18 U.S.C. § 1951, Counts 2, 9, and 13, must be overturned because of the voiding of the residual clause and the fact that a Hobbs Act robbery can be accomplished without the use of physical force. Rather than discuss them separately, the discussion will now focus on all six § 924(c) counts because in the Court's opinion, they all ultimately hinge to varying degree on the definition of “robbery” in 18 U.S.C. § 1951(b)(1).

         The Government concedes that the Petitioner's jury was instructed that the robberies at issue required the taking or obtaining of property from a person “by means of actual or threatened force, or violence or fear of injury, immediate or future, to his person or property.” (Doc. 7 at 19). The Hobbs Act defines the term “robbery” to mean “the unlawful taking or obtaining of personal property from the person or in the presence of another, against his will, by means of actual or threatened force, or violence, or fear of injury, immediate or future, to his person or property, or property in his custody or possession, or the person or property of a relative or member of his family or of anyone in his company at the time of the taking or obtaining.” 18 U.S.C. § 1951(b)(1). If the Hobbs Act robbery can be accomplished without the use of physical force, then its elements are too broad to match up with the appropriate “crime of violence” term in § 924(c) under the categorical approach as explained by the Supreme Court in Mathis, 136 S.Ct. 2243. This is so because the crime of violence is an indivisible element of the § 924(c) offense. As far as this Court has researched, no jury-certainly not the Petitioner's-was ever asked to unanimously decide on whether they concluded a § 924(c) offense was warranted under the elements clause or the now-defunct residual clause, regardless of whatever language was included in the counts of the charging instrument.

         Moreover, the parties agree that when applying the categorical approach a court presumes “the conviction rested on the least serious acts that could satisfy the statute, ” United States v. Armour, 840 F.3d 904, 908 (7th Cir. 2016), and that the “least serious act” would be fear of injury to property. Rather than recapitulate the Petitioner's argument further, the Court will quote him directly:

Indeed, under the Hobbs Act's definition of robbery, the fear of injury need not even be immediate but can be in the future, and the property need not even belong to the immediate victim as the property can belong to someone else. See id. This alone prevents Hobbs Act robbery from qualifying as a crime of violence under § 924(c)'s force clause, because as just explained, that clause requires violent (i.e., strong) physical force against a person or property. But property can quite obviously be injured without the use of violent force - or even any force at all. As a means of compelling a victim to surrender valuable property against his will, a threat to deface a victim's Picasso painting with a magic marker pen, to black out lines in rare documents, or to flush drugs down the toilet is likely to be as or more effective as a threat to punch the victim in the face. Each involves a clear “threat of injury” and thus each would satisfy the elements of Hobbs Act robbery, but only the threat to punch the victim in the face involves the use of violent physical force. In short, although the threats to property described above involve physical actions, they do not involve physical force within the meaning of Johnson v. United States, 559 U.S. 133, 140 (2010) (“physical force” means “violent force” - that is “strong physical force, ” which is “capable of causing physical pain or injury to another person.”).

(Doc. 3 at 19 (emphasis added)). The Petitioner's argument has merit. The Government responds by citing cases for the proposition that the Hobbs Act “fear of injury” is equivalent to the threatened use of physical force. See United States v Duncan, 833 F.3d 751, 755 (7th Cir. 2016); Armour, 840 F.3d at 907. The Court finds these cases and their holdings are either not applicable, or not persuasive, as the case may be, for the following two reasons.

         First, those Seventh Circuit cases cited by the Government dealt exclusively with the fear of bodily injury. The plain language of the statute provides that a Hobbs Act robbery can be accomplished by causing a victim to have “fear of injury” to property, and “damage” to property can be accomplished without any force whatsoever. The language of the term “fear of injury” seems broad enough to encompass instances of the loss of economic value rather than only a physical destruction brought about through the use of physical force. A case the Government cites in its opposition brief makes this point clearly. “Hobbs Act robbery under § 1951, however, prohibits ‘the unlawful taking or obtaining of personal property from the person or in the presence of another, against his will' by various different methods. The statute thus does not punish behavior that merely results in physical injury.” United States v. Wheeler, No. 15-CR-216, 2016 WL 783412, at *4 (E.D. Wis. Jan. 6, 2016), report and recommendation adopted, No. 15-CR-216-PP, 2016 WL 799250 (E.D. Wis. Feb. 29, 2016). Mere touching alone is not enough to show physical force. Duncan, 833 F.3d at 754. There are items in this world that possess some value simply because no one else has touched them; rare baseball cards devoid of fingerprints, rare comic books wrapped in thick plastic that have never been opened, for example. These items would lose value if slightly handled directly in a loving fashion, let alone in a haphazard or forceful manner calculated to physically harm the item, and the owners fear the resulting injury-the loss of pecuniary value-so they take great measures to protect these items from normal wear and tear of handling. Given that recognition-that the statute punishes conduct that does not merely result in physical injury-it is difficult for this Court to understand how it can conclude “robbery by fear of injury… necessarily involves a threat to use physical force if the robber's demands are not met” as the Government argues. See Wheeler, 2016 WL 783412 at *4-5.

         Second, the Court disagrees with the Government that the term “fear of injury” that appears in the definition of Hobbs Act “robbery” is the equivalent of the threatened use of physical force as a matter of statutory interpretation. This Court reads the statute to mean that a robbery is effectuated when either force, violence or fear of injury to the person or property of another are utilized to take a possession. 18 U.S.C. § 1951(b)(1). The statute would not include these three terms “force”, “violence”, “fear of injury” disjunctively as alternate means of violating the statute if they all meant the same thing. The Court will spare the reader from another table however, the reader should understand that the language of the statute provides several distinct definitional combinations that explain the different ways in which one can violate this statute. For example, one could use immediate actual force, or future threatened force, or future fear of injury, or immediate fear of injury, all to effectuate an unlawful taking. In short, the statute utilizes these three terms to bring within its purview a broader range of conduct than it could have done otherwise if the terms all meant the same thing. The Court believes this reading of the statute better comports with the familiar canon of statutory interpretation that a court should not interpret a statute in such a way that renders any part of it superfluous or otherwise ineffective. See Duncan v. Walker, 533 U.S. 167, 174 (2001).

         Very recently, this Court concluded that a crime of violence used in a § 924(c) conviction was sound under Mathis (and the cases that preceded Mathis) because the underlying crime was ultimately one where the jury was compelled to find that the defendant had engaged in the use of violent force. See DeSilva v. United States, No. 4:16-CV-4134, 2016 WL 6495393 (C.D. Ill. Nov. 2, 2016). DeSilva is distinguishable from this case because there, the nature of the ultimate crime was such that there had to have been an element of physical force in order for the jury to find DeSilva guilty of the 924(c) offense. See Id. at *6 (underlying offense was attempted Illinois aggravated battery with a firearm which obviously fit as the use or carrying of a firearm while committing a crime of violence). Here, the jury could have found that the Hobbs Act robbery occurred without finding that physical force was utilized and therefore, these § 924(c) convictions predicated on the Hobbs Act robberies directly under § 1951 cannot stand, nor can the § 924(c) convictions predicated on the Hobbs Act robberies indirectly as § 1952 underlying offenses.

         Next, the Government relies on the harmless error doctrine as to the § 924(c) convictions predicated on the § 1952 offenses and argues that Petitioner cannot establish that he was harmed by the inclusion of the residual clause in the instruction to the jury essentially because the facts demonstrate that he used actual threatened force to effectuate the robberies. (Doc. 7 at 20). Petitioner replies that because the crime of violence definition is indivisible, there is no alternative instruction under which ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.