In Garrison v. United States, No. 20-13260 (July 13, 2023) (Branch, Luck, Antoon), the Court affirmed the denial of a 2255 motion challenging a 924(c) conviction based on Davis.
he 924(c) conviction in this stash house robbery case was based on two drug trafficking offenses and Hobbs Act conspiracy, the latter of which is no longer a predicate “crime of violence” post-Davis. At trial, the court instructed the jury that it could rely on any of the three predicates (including the now-invalid Hobbs Act conspiracy) to convict for the 924(c) count, and the jury returned a general verdict. While the Eleventh Circuit held that this scenario violated the Supreme Court’s decision in Stromberg, it concluded that the error was harmless because the predicate offenses were inextricably intertwined. Thus, there was no possibility that the jury relied on the now-invalid Hobbs Act conspiracy predicate. The Court rejected the movant’s argument that it was precluded from looking beyond the jury instructions and the verdict to determine whether the 924(c) conviction rested on the invalid predicate.