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United States v. Edmundson

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

December 30, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
TIFFANY RENEE EDMUNDSON, Defendant

         Decided: December 29, 2015

          For Tiffany Renee Edmundson, Defendant: Michael D Montemarano, LEAD ATTORNEY, Michael D Montemarano PA, Columbia, MD.

         For Federal Public Defender, Amicus: Paresh S Patel, LEAD ATTORNEY, Federal Public Defender for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt, MD.

         For USA, Plaintiff: Thomas M Sullivan, William Davis Moomau, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Office of the United States Attorney, Greenbelt, MD; Gerald Akida Asim Collins, Rod J Rosenstein, Office of the United States Attorney, Baltimore, MD; Matthew Linden Paeffgen, U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland, Southern Division, Greenbelt, MD.

         AMENDED MEMORANDUM OPINION

         Paul W. Grimm, United States District Judge.

         This Memorandum Opinion supplements my ruling on the bench at a December 17, 2015, hearing. Defendant Tiffany Renee Edmundson had moved to dismiss Count 2, using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and vacate her guilty plea. Subsequently, Edmundson withdrew her motion to withdraw the guilty plea but persisted in her motion to dismiss the firearm count. I ruled that Edmundson's plea to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery did not meet the requirements in 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(A) and that 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(B) is void for vagueness.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On February 11, 2013, Defendant Tiffany Renee Edmundson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce by robbery (" Hobbs Act Conspiracy" ), 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence (" Firearm Offense" ), 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3). See Plea Agr., ECF No. 21. Her sentencing was delayed for reasons unrelated to the issues raised in the pending dispute. On August 17, 2015, Edmundson filed a Motion to Dismiss Count Two and to Vacate Guilty Plea on Said Count. Def.'s Mot., ECF No. 38. The Government filed an opposition. Opp'n, ECF No. 46. The Office of the Public Defender requested, ECF No. 49, and was granted, ECF No. 52, permission to file an amicus brief, Amicus Br., ECF No. 53, and supplement, Amicus Suppl., ECF No. 54.

         The gist of Edmundson's motion is that the Supreme Court's recent decision in Johnson v. United States, __ U.S. __, 135 S.Ct. 2551, 192 L.Ed.2d 569 (2015), requires me to permit her to withdraw her plea of guilty to Count 2 and to order that the Firearm Offense be dismissed. Edmundson argued she was entitled to this relief because the predicate offense to which she pleaded guilty, Hobbs Act Conspiracy, did not have as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force required by 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(A) (the " § 924(c) force clause" ), and that based on Johnson, the residual clause of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(B) (the " § 924(c) residual clause" ) was unconstitutionally vague in violation of the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause.

         A hearing was held on December 17, 2015. At the beginning of the hearing, Edmundson withdrew her motion to withdraw her guilty plea to the Firearm Offense but persisted in her motion to dismiss that count for the reasons asserted in her motion. I ruled that Edmundson's plea to Hobbs Act Conspiracy did not meet the § 924(c) force clause and that the § 924(c) residual clause is void for vagueness under Johnson. I then ordered the parties to brief the issue of whether my determinations that neither the § 924(c) force clause nor the § 924(c) residual clause applied required me to dismiss Count 2 prior to sentencing. This Memorandum Opinion supplements my ruling from the bench.

         II. DISCUSSION

         18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii) provides that a person convicted of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a " crime of violence" must be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment of seven years, to run consecutively to any other sentence imposed. A crime of violence is defined under the § 924(c) force clause as any felony that " has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another," § 924(c)(3)(A), or alternatively under the § 924(c) residual clause as any felony " 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," § 924(c)(3)(B).

         A. The ยง ...


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