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United States v. Hayes

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division

July 16, 2019

United States of America,
v.
Christopher Ryan Hayes, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          CAMERON MCGOWAN CURRIE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Defendant seeks relief in this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and Johnson v. United States, 576 U.S., 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015).[1] ECF No. 379. Defendant's original pro se motion argues that his 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) convictions should be vacated because his underlying offenses, Hobbs Act Robbery, fail to qualify as a “crime of violence.” The Federal Public Defender filed a supplemental motion to vacate on July 18, 2016. ECF No. 390. The Government filed a response in opposition and filed a motion to dismiss Defendant's § 2255 motion. ECF Nos. 392, 393. Defense counsel filed a reply, ECF No. 396, and Defendant, pro se, filed two supplements (ECF Nos. 399, 400). The Government filed a response in opposition to Defendant's supplement (ECF No. 403), and Defendant replied (ECF No. 404). Defendant filed an additional motion to lift stay/supplement. ECF No. 408.

         I. Background

         On November 20, 2008, Defendant was charged via superseding indictment with four counts: two counts of Hobbs Act Robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951 (robbing a pharmacy at gunpoint) (Counts 1 and 3); and two counts of using and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) (Counts 2 and 4). ECF No. 75. Defendant went to trial and was found guilty on all counts. ECF No. 157.

         On June 8, 2009, Defendant appeared for sentencing. The court granted Defendant's request for a variance and sentenced him to 441 months, consisting of 57 months as to Counts 1 and 3; 84 months as to Count 2, to run consecutively; and 300 months as to Count 4, consecutive. ECF No. 195. Defendant appealed his convictions and sentence, but the Fourth Circuit granted an unopposed motion to dismiss the appeal under Rule 42(b) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. ECF No. 261.

         II. 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)

         Title 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) provides that a defendant shall be subject to a consecutive sentence if he or she, “during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime. . . for which the person may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries a firearm, or who, in furtherance of any such crime, possesses a firearm. . . .” 18 U.S.C. 924(c).

         The statute defines a “crime of violence” as:

an offense that is a felony and -
(A) has an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or
(B) that by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.

18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3). The first clause is known as the “force” clause, while the second is the “residual” clause. United States v. Fuertes, 805 F.3d 485, 498 (4th Cir. 2015).

         On June 24, 2019, the Supreme Court decided the residual clause of § 924(c)(3)(B) is void for vagueness. United States v. Davis, __ S.Ct. __, 2019 WL 2570623, at *13 (June 24, 2019). In doing so, the Court rejected application of a case-specific ...


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