United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
DANNELL L. SAMPSON, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE
petitioner Dannell L. Sampson, a federal prisoner
incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary McCreary in
Kentucky, seeks relief from his sentence under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255. He contends that he should not have been
convicted of robbery under the Hobbs Act or using a firearm
in furtherance of a crime of violence. He argues that he did
not commit Hobbs Act robbery because he robbed a local store,
so his robbery did not affect interstate commerce in light of
United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995), and
United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000). As
for his conviction for using firearm in furtherance of a
crime of violence, Sampson argues that his Hobbs Act robbery
should no longer count as a crime of violence in light of
Mathis v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2243 (2016) and
Samuel Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551
matter is before the court for preliminary review under Rule
4 of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings for the
United States District Courts. Under Rule 4, Sampson's
Section 2255 motion is addressed to me as the judge who
sentenced him, and I must dismiss his motion if “it
plainly appears from the motion, any attached exhibits, and
the record of prior proceedings that [Sampson] is not
entitled to relief.” Sampson's motion and the
record from his criminal proceeding plainly show that Sampson
is not entitled to relief, so I will deny his motion and
close the case.
the following facts from Sampson's motion, Dkt. 1, and
the docket of his criminal proceeding, United States v.
Sampson, No. 16-cr-93 (W.D. Wis. filed Nov. 16, 2017).
2016, Sampson and his co-defendants robbed an AT&T retail
store in Beloit, Wisconsin. One of the co-defendants
brandished a semiautomatic handgun. Sampson's
co-defendant threatened to kill the store employees, and
Sampson restrained them with zip ties. The loss suffered by
the victim store was $36, 137, including 71 cellular phones
and other electronic devices. The robbery also involved
threats of violence and the restraint of victims.
2017, he pleaded guilty to one count of interference with
commerce by threats or violence, 18 U.S.C. § 1951 (Hobbs
Act robbery) and to one count of using a firearm in
furtherance of a crime of violence, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c).
I sentenced him to 51 months for the first count and 60
months for the second, to be served consecutively.
Hobbs Act robbery
contends that because he robbed a local retail store, his
robbery had an insufficient effect on interstate commerce.
Hobbs Act robbery has two elements: “a robbery and an
effect on interstate commerce.” United States v.
Carr, 652 F.3d 811, 812 (7th Cir. 2011). Sampson does
not deny that he robbed the AT&T store, so the only
question is whether the robbery affected interstate commerce.
Hobbs Act defines the term “commerce” this way:
The term “commerce” means commerce within the
District of Columbia, or any Territory or Possession of the
United States; all commerce between any point in a State,
Territory, Possession, or the District of Columbia and any
point outside thereof; all commerce between points within the
same State through any place outside such State; and all
other commerce over which the United States has
28 U.S.C. § 1951(b)(3). This language is
“unmistakably broad. It reaches any obstruction, delay,
or other effect on commerce, even if small.” Taylor
v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2074, 2079 (2016).
“[T]he law of this circuit requires the government to
show only that the charged crime had a ‘de
minimis' or slight effect on interstate commerce,
” and robbing a local retail store has been recognized
as a sufficient effect on interstate commerce. United
States v. Carr, 652 F.3d 811, 813-14 (7th Cir. 2011). As
the Seventh Circuit has explained,
An act of violence against even one business, like the
convenience store in this case, could conceivably deter
economic activity and thus harm national commerce. The
economic harm would not necessarily depend upon the amount of
money with which any particular defendant absconds. If retail
stores, in the aggregate, have a substantial effect on
commerce (which they undoubtedly do), then the ...