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Robbins v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

May 1, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent. Crim. No. 4:11-CR-0082-DGK



         A jury convicted Movant Jason Robbins (“Robbins”) of four firearms violations, and the Court sentenced him to 240 months' imprisonment. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. Movant filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (Doc. 1).

         Now before the Court is the Government's motion to lift the stay and deny Movant's pending § 2255 motion on the merits (Doc. 34). Because the Supreme Court has recently held that the Sentencing Guidelines are not subject to a void-for-vagueness challenge under the Due Process Clause, and Movant's ineffective assistance of counsel claims are meritless, the Government's motion is GRANTED. Movant's § 2255 motion is DENIED without an evidentiary hearing, and the Court declines to issue a certificate of appealability.

         Background [1]

         The underlying convictions stem from two separate incidents. First, in August of 2009, Kansas City, Missouri, police arrested Movant for assaulting his girlfriend inside her home. Movant, a felon, entered her home while armed with a stolen handgun, took her hostage, and threatened to shoot her in front of her nine year-old child and her mother. Movant then forced her to lie on the floor, pointed the gun at the back of her head for ten to fifteen seconds, picked her up off the floor by her hair, and finally shoved the handgun into mouth, damaging her teeth. The second incident occurred on May 14, 2010, when Kansas City, Missouri, police arrested Movant while he was fleeing from a stolen car while armed with a different stolen handgun.

         On April 4, 2011, a federal grand jury indicted Movant on four felony charges. Counts I and III charged him with being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2); Counts II and IV charged him with being in possession of a stolen firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(j) and 924(a)(2). Movant pleaded not guilty, declined the Government's plea offer, and proceeded to trial.

         The morning of trial, the Court made a record with Movant regarding the plea offer he declined. Movant confirmed that the offer was that he would plead guilty to both counts of being a felon in possession of a weapon. In return, the Government would dismiss both possession of a stolen firearm counts and recommend a sentence within the Sentencing Guidelines range, which the Government and his attorney anticipated would be between 84 and 112 months' imprisonment.

         Following a three day trial, the jury convicted Movant of all counts on November 29, 2012.

         The Probation and Parole office subsequently prepared a presentence investigation report (“PSR”). Because Movant had previously been convicted of a crime of violence, resisting arrest by fleeing, the PSR calculated a base offense level of 20 pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2K2.1(a)(4)(A). The PSR applied a two-level enhancement because the firearms were stolen and a four-level enhancement because Movant committed the offense in connection with another felony. The PSR also calculated a Category VI criminal history. This yielded a Sentencing Guidelines range of 120 to 150 months' imprisonment. The statutory maximum sentence was 120 months' imprisonment on each count.

         The Government filed a memorandum asking the Court to impose consecutive sentences because of Movant's extensive criminal history, the violence of the offenses, and the impact on his victims.

         At the outset of the sentencing hearing, the Court carefully calculated Movant's Guideline range. After granting some of Movant's objections, the Court calculated a Guideline range of 110 to 137 months' imprisonment. The Court then heard victim impact testimony from Movant's former girlfriend, who described the effects the crime had on herself and her child. The Court carefully considered all the relevant factors, including Movant's extensive criminal history and history of violence towards others, and decided to vary upward. The Court imposed 120 months' imprisonment on Counts I and III and 120 months' imprisonment on Counts II and IV, for an aggregate sentence of 240 months.[2]

         Movant appealed, arguing the Court erred at sentencing by failing to adequately explain why it imposed consecutive sentences. United States v. Robbins, 554 F. App'x 543, 543-44 (8th Cir. 2014). The Eighth Circuit affirmed. Id. at 544.

         Movant collaterally attacked his conviction by timely filing the pending § 2255 motion on March 25, 2015. The Court withheld ruling while awaiting the Supreme Court's ruling in Beckles v. United States. ...

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