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United States v. Craig

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

August 28, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
TYREE CRAIG, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          John Z. Lee, United States District Judge

         Tyree Craig filed a pro se motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Craig claims that, following the Supreme Court's decision in Sessions v. Dimaya, 138 S.Ct. 1204 (2018), his conviction for Hobbs Act robbery is not a valid predicate for his conviction for using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). Because Craig's argument is foreclosed by circuit precedent, his motion [1] [3] is denied.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On July 23, 2015, Craig was charged in a superseding information with robbery in violation of the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), as well as using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A). See Superseding Information, No. 14 CR 151, ECF No. 88. The Government alleged that Craig had robbed a gas station and a jewelry store, taking property from employees of those establishments by means of actual and threatened force and fear of injury. See generally Id. Additionally, the Government alleged, Craig had used, carried, and brandished a .40 caliber firearm during and in relation to the jewelry-store robbery. See generally id.

         Craig pleaded guilty to the superseding information on August 10, 2015. See Plea Agreement, No. 14 CR 151, ECF No. 98. The Court imposed a sentence of 110 months of imprisonment as to the robbery counts, to run consecutively to the statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 84 months for the § 924(c) charge. See Judgment, No. 14 CR 151, ECF No. 147.

         Craig appealed, arguing that a violation of the Hobbs Act was not a “crime of violence” for purposes of the mandatory consecutive sentence under § 924(c). See 7th Circuit Order, No. 14 CR 151, ECF No. 164. Relying on United States v. Anglin, 846 F.3d 954 (7th Cir. 2017), the Seventh Circuit affirmed Craig's conviction. See 7th Circuit Order at 2, No. 14 CR 151.

         Legal Standard

         Section 2255 provides that a criminal defendant is entitled to relief from his conviction and sentence if “the court finds that the judgment was rendered without jurisdiction, or that the sentence imposed was not authorized by law or otherwise open to collateral attack, or that there has been such a denial or infringement of the constitutional rights of the prisoner as to render the judgment vulnerable to collateral attack.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b). A court may deny a § 2255 motion without an evidentiary hearing if “the motion and the files and records of the case conclusively show” that the defendant is not entitled to relief. Id. Relief under § 2255 is available “only in extraordinary situations, such as an error of constitutional or jurisdictional magnitude or where a fundamental defect has occurred which results in a complete miscarriage of justice.” Blake v. United States, 723 F.3d 870, 878-79 (7th Cir. 2013).

         Analysis

         As noted above, Craig challenges his conviction and sentence under § 924(c)(1)(A), which imposes criminal penalties upon any person who uses or carries a firearm “during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime” or who possesses a firearm “in furtherance of any such crime.” 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A). In turn, § 924(c)(3) defines a “crime of violence” as:

[A]n 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.

Id. § 924(c)(3). Section 924(c)(3)(A) is frequently referred to as the “elements clause, ” while section 924(c)(3)(B) is termed the “residual clause.” Anglin, 846 F.3d at 964, cert. granted, judgment ...


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