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St. Louis, MO - Criminal defense lawyer represented defendant charged with committing a Hobbs Act robbery.
The evidence introduced at Vassie’s two-day trial included the testimony of
two victims who were robbed at gunpoint and a cooperating coconspirator who
described the robberies and the participation of four codefendants, including Vassie.
In addition, several law enforcement officials, some of whom were conducting
surveillance when one of the robberies occurred, testified about the activities of the
coconspirators and Vassie’s incriminating post-arrest statements. Viewing the
evidence in a light most favorable to the government, without disturbing the jury’s
credibility determinations, we conclude that the evidence supported the jury’s verdict.
See United States v. Bassett, 762 F.3d 681, 685 (8th Cir.) (defining conspiracy to
commit bank robbery), cert. denied, 135 S. Ct. 882 (2014); United States v. House,
825 F.3d 381, 386–87 (8thCir. 2016) (defining Hobbs Act robbery), cert. denied, 137
S. Ct. 1124 (2017); United States v. McArthur, 850 F.3d 925, 941 (8th Cir. 2017)
(defining aiding and abetting a § 924(c) offense). We also conclude that Vassie’s
conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) has not been called into question by Johnson v.
United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551 (2015). See Diaz v. United States, 863 F.3d 781,
783–84 (8th Cir. 2017); United States v. Prickett, 839 F.3d 697, 699 (8th Cir. 2016)
(per curiam), petition for cert. filed, No. 16-7373 (U.S. Dec. 30, 2016).
Turning to Vassie’s sentence, we find no error in the District Court’s
imposition of enhancements that may apply if a firearm was brandished or possessed
1The Honorable Stephen R. Bough, United States District Judge for the
Western District of Missouri.
during a robbery and if “carjacking,” as defined in the Guidelines commentary, was
involved. See U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 2B3.1 & cmt. n. 1; United States
v. Razo-Guerra, 534 F.3d 970, 975 (8th Cir. 2008) (“The Government must prove by
a preponderance of the evidence each of the facts necessary to establish a sentencing
enhancement.”). Finally, we find no indication in the record that the District Court
committed procedural error or otherwise imposed an unreasonable sentence. See Gall
v. United States, 552 U.S. 38, 51 (2007) (standard of review).
Outcome: We have reviewed the record independently under Penson v. Ohio, 488 U.S.
75, 80 (1988), and we find no non-frivolous issues. We affirm the judgment of the
District Court and grant counsel’s motion to withdraw