United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
L. Wooten Senior United States District Judge
Renaldo Graham pled guilty to charges of Hobbs Act robbery,
in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a) (Count 1); and using
a short-barreled shotgun during and in relation to a crime of
violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) (Count 2).
The Court sentenced him to a total of 172 months
incarceration, consisting of 52 months on Count 1 and 120
months consecutive on Count 2. ECF No. 34. In his § 2255
petition, he asks the Court to “vacate the judgment in
this case and correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255 and Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct.
2551 (June 26, 2015). Also see Welch v. United States,
Hubbard v. United States in which all three cases
support this instant motion.” ECF No. 42. Giving his
petition a liberal construction, he appears to be arguing
that Hobbs Act robbery is no longer a § 924(c) predicate
crime of violence.
the force clause of § 924(c), 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 sister circuits.
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. 42, 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.
 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 . . ...