United States v. Scott (3rd Cir. September 2021)

The Federal Docket

October 5, 2021

Sentencing — Hobbs Act robbery is too broad to be a “crime of violence” for Career Offender purposes under the Guidelines.

Eric Scott was sentenced under 18 U.S.C § 922(g)(1) for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. The District Court applied the career offender sentencing enhancement under U.S.S.G § 2K2.1(a)(2), finding that Scott had two prior convictions for “crimes of violence,” one of which was a conviction for Hobbs Act robbery under 18 U.S.CC. § 1951(b)(1). Scott did not object to this enhancement, but on appeal he argued that it constituted reversible error.

The Third Circuit agreed, finding that it was plain error to sentence Scott under the career offender provision. The court held that Hobbs Act robbery is not a “crime of violence” under the Guidelines, joining the Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits. The court also found that this error was plain, reversing Scott’s sentences and remanding. The Court held that the elements for Hobbs Act robbery were broader than the Guidelines’ definition of “crime of violence.”

Judge Phipps dissented, finding that any error was not plain.

Appeal from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Opinion by Krause, joined by Ambro
Dissent by Phipps

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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