United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
L. Wooten, Senior United States District Judge.
Romail Leach 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 the Court sentenced him to a
total of 32 years incarceration, consisting of 7 years on
Count 4 and 25 years consecutive on Count 11. ECF No. 221.
Count 4 was related to a Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 1951(a). Count 11 was related to a
kidnapping and carjacking, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§§ 1201(a) and 2119, respectively. In his initial
and amended § 2255 petitions, he challenges his
convictions on both counts.
Petitioner's conviction on Count 4, 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
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 Count 11, 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. § 924(c)(3)(A)).
Hobbs Act robbery and carjacking qualify as crimes of
violence under § 924(c)(3)(A), Petitioner's petition
and amended petition for relief pursuant to § 2255, ECF
Nos. 353, 400, are 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.
 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.
 Because carjacking qualifies as a
crime of violence, it is not necessary for the Court to
decide whether ...