United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
L. Wooten Senior United States District Judge
Thomas Montril Brown was convicted at trial of three counts
of carjacking, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2119 (Counts
1, 7, and 9); two counts of Hobbs Act robbery, in violation
of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a) (Counts 3 and 5); one count of
kidnapping, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1201(a) (Count
10); one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm,
in violation 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) (Count 12); and five
counts of using a firearm during and in relation to a crime
of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) (Counts
2, 4, 6, 8, and 11). ECF No. 177. The Court sentenced him to a
total of 1, 680 months incarceration. ECF No. 197. In his
§ 2255 petition, he challenges his convictions on all
five § 924(c) counts, as he says he was “convicted
of a non-offense over which this court did not have
jurisdiction.” ECF No. 357 at 1.
Petitioner's convictions on the Hobbs Act robbery-related
§ 924(c) counts, he 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 sister
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)).
Petitioner's conviction on the carjacking-related §
924(c) counts, the Fourth Circuit has foreclosed his
argument, holding that “the carjacking statute
qualifies as a crime of violence under Section 924(c),
because the carjacking statute ‘has as an element the
use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force
against the person or property of another.'” Evans,
848 F.3d at 244 (quoting 18 U.S.C. §
Hobbs Act robbery and carjacking qualify as crimes of
violence under § 924(c)(3)(A), Petitioner's petition
for relief pursuant to § 2255, ECF No. 357, 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 § 924(c) convictions were
related to the following offenses:
Count 2: Carjacking (Count 1);
Count 4: Hobbs Act robbery (Count 3);