In United States v. Wiley, No. 22-10179 (Aug. 29, 2023) (Jill Pryor, Grant, Maze (N.D. Ala.)), the Court affirmed Mr. Wiley’s convictions.
Mr. Wiley was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a); five counts of aiding and abetting Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1951(a) and 2; and five counts of aiding and abetting to use, carry, and brandish a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A)(ii) and 2.
On appeal, he first argued that the district court abused its discretion by striking a juror for cause because of her religious beliefs. That juror told the court that she was a a Jehovah’s Witness and would have difficulty judging others because she did not “have a lot of faith in the legal—the justice system.” The Court found no abuse of discretion because courts may exclude or remove jurors who make clear that they may not sit in judgment of others based on their religious beliefs.
He next argued that the district court plainly erred by allowing law enforcement officers to give lay opinion testimony identifying Mr. Wiley in the surveillance footage presented at trial when the officers did not become familiar with Mr. Wiley until after his arrest. The Court noted that even assuming the district court erred by admitting the lay opinion identification testimony, Mr. Wiley had failed to show that his substantial rights were affected because the officers’ identification testimony was not the only evidence linking him to the robberies.
Finally, he argued that his § 924(c) convictions must be vacated because aiding and abetting Hobbs Act robbery is not a categorical crime of violence under § 924(c). The Court found this argument foreclosed by its binding precedent in In re Colon, which the Court held remained viable and the law of the circuit even post-Taylor.