United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
L. Wooten Senior United States District Judge
Travanti Roberts was convicted at trial of two counts of
Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a)
(Counts 1 and 3); two counts of using a firearm during and in
relation to a crime of violence (the Hobbs Act robberies), in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) (Counts 2 and 4); and
one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) (Count 5). The Court
sentenced him to a total of 474 months incarceration,
consisting of 90 months on Counts 1, 3, and 5; 84 months
consecutive on Count 2; and 300 months consecutive on Count
4. ECF No. 133. In his § 2255 petition, he says that
Hobbs Act robbery is not a valid § 924(c) predicate
conviction and that he was therefore “convicted of two
non-offenses over which this court did not have
jurisdiction.” ECF No. 230 at 1-2.
makes two arguments 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. 226, is DENIED. This action
is hereby DISMISSED.
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.
 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. 226, 229, 230.
 The Court notes that this issue is
currently before the Fourth Circuit in at least three cases:
United States v. Allen, No. 4:02-cr-00750-TLW-2
(D.S.C. Feb. 5, 2019) (order denying § 2255 petition),
appeal docketed, No. 19-6305 (4th Cir. Mar. 4, 2019);
United States v. Gleaton, No. 3:18-cr-00006-TLW-1
(D.S.C. Mar. 26, 2018) (order denying motion to dismiss),
appeal docketed, No. 18-4558 (4th Cir. Aug. 8, 2018);
United States v. Wilson, No. 3:17-cr-00138-TLW-1
(D.S.C. Sept. 22, 2017) (order denying motion to dismiss),
appeal docketed, No. 18-4159 (4th Cir. Mar. 15,
 As to § 924(c)'s residual
clause, the Fourth Circuit recently concluded that it is
unconstitutionally vague. United States v. Simms,
914 F.3d 229, 232 (4th Cir. 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 . . ...