Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Boston v. United States

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

September 30, 2019

JIMMY LEE BOSTON, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida D.C. Docket Nos. 8:16-cv-01827-SCB-TBM, 8:06-cr-00259-SCB-TBM-1

          Before WILLIAM PRYOR and JILL PRYOR, Circuit Judges, and ROBRENO, [*] District Judge.

          WILLIAM PRYOR, Circuit Judge.

         This appeal requires us to decide whether the district court erred when it denied Jimmy Lee Boston's second or successive motion to correct his sentence, 28 U.S.C. § 2255(a), (h), under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). In 2007, Boston was convicted and sentenced under the Act to 262 months of imprisonment. His prior convictions included two for armed robbery and seven for principal to robbery with a firearm, which, under Florida law, Fla. Stat. § 777.011, includes aider-and-abettor liability. After the decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), which held that the residual clause of the Act is void for vagueness, Boston filed a second or successive motion to correct his sentence. He argued that, after Johnson, none of his seven principal-to-robbery-with-a-firearm convictions qualified as a third violent-felony conviction under the Act. The district court denied his motion on the ground that an aider and abettor is liable under Florida law for all the acts of a principal, so all of Boston's armed-robbery convictions, even those where he only aided and abetted an armed robbery, count as violent felonies the same as if he had committed the armed robbery himself. Because we agree with the district court, we affirm.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In 2006, a grand jury indicted Jimmy Lee Boston for possessing a firearm as a felon, 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1), 924(e)(1), and possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number, id. §§ 922(k), 924(a)(1)(B). The indictment identified eleven predicate felony convictions for the felon-in-possession charge, including two convictions for armed robbery and seven convictions as a principal to robbery with a firearm. A jury found Boston guilty of both counts of the indictment.

         The presentence investigation report listed only six of Boston's convictions as a principal to robbery with a firearm instead of seven. The report stated that Boston was "subject to an enhanced sentence under" the Armed Career Criminal Act, but it did not specify which of his prior convictions subjected him to the enhancement. Boston did not object to the report about any of his prior adult convictions, nor did he object to the enhancement of his sentence under the Act. The district court imposed a sentence of 262 months of imprisonment. Boston appealed, and we affirmed. See United States v. Boston, 249 F.App'x 807 (11th Cir. 2007).

         After the Supreme Court held the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act void for vagueness in Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at 2563, and held that the new rule announced in Johnson applies retroactively to cases on collateral review, Welch v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 1257 (2016), Boston received permission from this Court to file a second or successive motion to correct his sentence, see 28 U.S.C. § 2255(h). In his motion, Boston sought relief on the ground that the "district court enhanced [his] sentence under the Act's residual clause, so [he] no longer ha[d] three Armed Career Criminal Act qualifying predicate offenses." His accompanying memorandum of law argued that his principal-to-robbery convictions were not violent felonies under the elements clause because a "principal to robbery" can be convicted without proof that he "commit[ed], threaten[ed] to commit, or attempt[ed] to commit all elements of the robbery, " including the element of physical force.

         The government made three arguments in response. First, it argued that Boston had failed to establish that his second-or-successive claim "relie[d] on a new rule of constitutional law, " id. § 2244(b)(2)(A); see also id. § 2255(h)(2), because he had not established that his enhanced sentence depended on the residual clause. Second, it argued that Boston's argument was procedurally defaulted because he failed to raise it at sentencing or on direct appeal. Third, the government contended that Boston's argument failed on the merits because he had at least three violent-felony convictions.

         The government conceded that Boston's burglary convictions did not satisfy the enumerated-offenses clause of the Act, and it admitted that it lacked the records to determine whether his battery-on-a-law-enforcement-officer conviction satisfies the Act's elements clause. See Shepard v. United States, 544 U.S. 13, 16 (2005). But the government maintained that his two armed-robbery convictions counted, and it contended that his several principal-to-robbery-with-a-firearm convictions put him over the three-conviction threshold.

         The government made alternative arguments about Boston's robbery convictions. Although the indictment and presentence investigation report stated that Boston had two convictions for armed robbery and several convictions for principal to robbery with a firearm, the government argued that the records for Boston's convictions, see id. at 16, established that he had not two but four armed-robbery convictions. The government explained that two of the principal-to-robbery-with-a-firearm convictions did not depend on the Florida statute making aiders and abettors punishable as principals, Fla. Stat. § 777.011. The government pointed out that, for two of Boston's putative principal-to-robbery-with-a-firearm convictions, the judgments listed only the robbery statute, id. § 812.13, as the statute of conviction, and that the charging documents in those cases also made no reference to aiding-and-abetting liability or the principal-liability statute. The government acknowledged that each of the two judgments in question described the crime as "principal to robbery with a firearm" but suggested that the phrase "could easily be a scrivener['s] error, and Boston ha[d] failed to make any showing to the contrary." In the alternative, the government argued that, even if Boston were considered to have only two convictions that did not depend on aiding-and- abetting liability, any conviction as a principal to robbery with a firearm categorically qualifies as a violent felony under the elements clause.

         The district court denied Boston's motion. It determined that Boston had not two but four armed-robbery convictions independent of the principal-liability statute. And, in any event, the district court ruled that Boston's principal-to-robbery-with-a-firearm convictions qualified as violent-felony convictions under the elements clause. The district court did not address the government's arguments that Boston had not established that he was sentenced using the residual clause and that his claim was procedurally defaulted.

         After the district court denied a certificate of appealability, we granted a certificate for the following two issues:

(1)Whether Boston's two prior Florida convictions for principal to armed robbery, in Case No. 89-1594F(A) and Case No. 89-1165F(A), for which the charging documents and judgments cited only Fla. Stat. Ann. ยง 812.13 as the offense of conviction statute, were convictions for substantive Florida armed robbery, such that they ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.