United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
L. Wooten Chief United States District Judge
Eric Hammons Allen Jr. pled guilty to two counts of using a
firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), and after granting the
Government's motion for a downward departure pursuant to
USSG § 5K1.1, the Court sentenced him to a total of 350
months incarceration, consisting of 120 months on Count 2 and
230 months consecutive on Count 4. ECF Nos. 122, 129. Both of
his § 924(c) convictions were related to Hobbs Act
robberies, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a). In his
§ 2255 petition, he asserts that Hobbs Act robbery is
not a valid § 924(c) predicate conviction and that he
was therefore “convicted of a non-offense over which
this court did not have jurisdiction.” ECF No. 259 at 1.
raises two arguments as to why Hobbs Act robbery is not a
§ 924(c) predicate crime of violence: (1) that Hobbs Act
robbery does not qualify categorically under §
924(c)'s force clause in light of Descamps v. United
States, 570 U.S. 254 (2013) and related cases; and (2)
that § 924(c)'s residual clause is
unconstitutionally vague in light of Johnson v. United
States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015).
argument as to the force clause is not persuasive. Every
circuit court that has addressed the issue has concluded that
substantive Hobbs Act robbery is a valid § 924(c)
predicate under the force clause. See United States v.
Garcia-Ortiz, 904 F.3d 102, 109 (1st Cir. 2018);
United States v. Melgar-Cabrera, 892 F.3d 1053,
1064-65 (10th Cir. 2018); United States v. Hill, 890
F.3d 51, 60 (2d Cir. 2018); United States v. Gooch,
850 F.3d 285, 292 (6th Cir. 2017); United States v.
Rivera, 847 F.3d 847, 848-49 (7th Cir. 2017); United
States v. Buck, 847 F.3d 267, 274-75 (5th Cir. 2017);
United States v. Howard, 650 Fed.Appx. 466, 468 (9th
Cir. 2016); In re Saint Fleur, 824 F.3d 1337,
1340-41 (11th Cir. 2016); United States v. House,
825 F.3d 381, 387 (8th Cir. 2016). There is no basis to
conclude that the Fourth Circuit would rule contrary to its
analysis in the above cases applies here and is persuasive.
Accordingly, the Court embraces that authority and concludes
that Hobbs Act robbery qualifies as a § 924(c) predicate
under the force clause. See also Stokeling v. United
States, 139 S.Ct. 544, 551, 554 (2019) (concluding that
a robbery conviction is a violent felony under the ACCA's
force clause as long as the conviction categorically required
force sufficient to overcome a victim's resistance,
however slight the resistance); United States v.
Evans, 848 F.3d 242, 247-48 (4th Cir. 2017) (concluding
that carjacking under 18 U.S.C. § 2119 is a crime of
violence under § 924(c)(3)(A)); United States v.
McNeal, 818 F.3d 141, 153 (4th Cir. 2016) (concluding
that bank robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) is a crime
of violence under § 924(c)(3)(A)).
Hobbs Act robbery qualifies as a crime of violence under
§ 924(c)(3)(A), Petitioner's petition for relief
pursuant to § 2255, ECF No. 250, is
DENIED. This action is hereby
Court has reviewed this petition in accordance with Rule 11
of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings. In order for
the Court to issue a certificate of appealability, Rule 11
requires that Petitioner satisfy the requirements of 28
U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2), which in turn requires that he
“has made a substantial showing of the denial of a
constitutional right.” The Court concludes that he has
not made such a showing, and it is therefore not appropriate
to issue a certificate of appealability as to the issues
raised in this petition. Petitioner is advised that he may
seek a certificate from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
under Rule 22 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.
IS SO ORDERED.
 His sentence was later reduced to a
total of 312 months pursuant to a Rule 35(b) motion. ECF No.
 He filed his petition pro se,
but an assistant federal public defender later noticed his
appearance on Petitioner's behalf and filed a memorandum
in support of the petition. ECF Nos. 250, 258, 259.
 As to § 924(c)'s residual
clause, the Fourth Circuit recently concluded that it is
unconstitutionally vague. United States v. Simms,
F.3d, 2019 WL 311906, at *1 (4th Cir. Jan. 24, 2019) (en
banc). However, Simms has no impact on this case
because that decision only involved the residual clause, not
the force clause.
 A response from the Government is not
required because “the motion and the files and records
of the case conclusively show that [Petitioner] is entitled
to no relief . . ...