Watkins v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: June 28, 2019
  • Case #: 18-7996
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 744 F. App'x 27 (2d Cir. 2018)

(1) Whether the residual clause in 18 U.S.C. § 924( c)(3)(B) is void for vagueness, a question that divides seven courts of appeals. (2) Whether Hobbs Act conspiracy can automatically be characterized as a categorical crime of violence.

Petitioner was convicted of Hobbs Act conspiracy to commit robbery, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951, and of using and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a “crime of violence,” a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). The Second Circuit affirmed, stating that Hobbs Act conspiracy is per se a crime of violence. Petitioner asserts this case is distinguishable from United States v. Davis, 903 F.3d 483 (5th Cir. 2019), in that Petitioner committed no acts of violence and was taken into custody before committing a substantive offense. Petitioner argues that Hobbs Act conspiracy is not per se a crime of violence because it is merely an agreement to commit illegal acts and contains no inherent violence. Petitioner also argues that because Hobbs Act conspiracy is not a crime of violence, Petitioner cannot be convicted under the Armed Career Criminal Act, § 924(c). Petitioner further argues that the term “crime of violence” in § 924(c)(3)(B)’s residual clause is unconstitutionally vague, which the Court held it to be in Sessions v. Dimaya, 138 S. Ct. 1204 (2018). Petitioner states that the 4-3 circuit split on this matter should be resolved. The Court granted certiorari and issued an order to vacate the judgment and remand for in light of United States v. Davis, 588 U.S. ___ (2019). VACATED and REMANDED.

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