United States v. Goodall (9th Cir. October 2021)

The Federal Docket

November 17, 2021

Eric Goodall pled guilty on two counts of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), and one count of brandishing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3). As part of this plea, he waived his right to appeal either his conviction or his sentence. After his sentencing, the Supreme Court held in United States v. Davis that conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery cannot be used as a predicate crime of violence under the residual clause of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3).

Goodall appealed, alleging that his sentence and conviction should be vacated in light of Davis. Reviewing the case de novo, the Ninth Circuit dismissed his appeal, finding it barred by the valid appellate waiver during his plea. Goodall’s waiver was knowing and voluntary, and the broad construction of it bars a Davis challenge. The illegal sentence exception to appellate waivers explained in United States v. Torres does not apply to circumstances where a conviction is later determined to have been illegal. In waiving appeal, a defendant assumes the risk that the law could change in their favor.

Appeal from the District of Nevada
Opinion by Lee, joined by Graber and Vratil (by designation from the District of Kansas)

Click here to read the opinion

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

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