United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
L. Wooten, Senior United States District Judge.
Ellison Lakell Cooper pled guilty to charges of Hobbs Act
robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a) (Count 3);
and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of
violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) (Count 5).
The Court sentenced him as a career offender and pursuant to
a Rule 11(c)(1)(C) agreement to a total of 300 months
incarceration, consisting of 216 months on Count 3 and 84
months consecutive on Count 5. ECF Nos. 56, 68. In his §
2255 petition, he makes two arguments: (1) that he is no
longer a career offender; and (2) that Hobbs Act robbery is
not a valid § 924(c) predicate conviction. ECF No. 103.
Petitioner's career offender argument, the Supreme Court
has now foreclosed that argument, having held that “the
advisory Sentencing Guidelines are not subject to a vagueness
challenge under the Due Process Clause and that §
4B1.2(a)'s residual clause is not void for
vagueness.” Beckles v. United States, 137
S.Ct. 886, 895 (2017); see also United States v.
Foote, 784 F.3d 931, 936 (4th Cir. 2015) (concluding
that an erroneous application of the Sentencing Guidelines,
including a career offender designation, is not cognizable on
collateral review pursuant to § 2255).
the Hobbs Act robbery argument, Petitioner makes two
arguments why it 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 United States v. Torres-Miguel, 701 F.3d 165 (4th
Cir. 2012) 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
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)).
the Guidelines are not subject to a vagueness challenge and
because Hobbs Act robbery qualifies as a crime of violence
under § 924(c)(3)(A), Petitioner's petition for
relief pursuant to § 2255, ECF No. 103, 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
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, 2018). § 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.
 Petitioner bases his career offender
argument on the theory that South Carolina strong arm robbery
is not a crime of violence under the force clause. See ECF
No. 103-1 at 22-25. That argument has now been foreclosed by
the Fourth Circuit's decision in United States v.
Doctor, 842 F.3d 306 (4th Cir. 2016).
 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),