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United States v. Watson

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

March 2, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
MARCUS KALANI WATSON, 01 ROGUSSIA EDDIE ALLEN DANIELSON, 02 Defendants. CR Nos. 14-00751-01 DKW, 14-00751-02 DKW

ORDER DENYING PETITIONERS’ MOTIONS PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 2255 TO VACATE, SET ASIDE, OR CORRECT SENTENCE

Derrik K. Watson United States District Judge

INTRODUCTION

Petitioners Marcus Kalani Watson and Rogussia Eddie Allen Danielson pled guilty to a series of robberies that occurred over a five-week span, including two armed bank robberies that they jointly conducted in May 2014. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015), Petitioners challenge only the portion of their sentences that was based on 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(ii), contending that because armed bank robbery is not a “crime of violence, ” it cannot be used to apply Section 924(c). Because armed bank robbery under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(a) and (d) remains a “crime of violence” even after Johnson, the Court (1) DENIES Petitioners’ Section 2255 motions, but (2) GRANTS each Petitioner a certificate of appealability.

BACKGROUND

I. Indictment

The August 20, 2014 Indictment charged both Petitioners, in part, with a May 30, 2014 bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(a) and (d) (Count 5). The Indictment also charged both individuals in separate counts for brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of Section 924(c)(1)(A)(ii) - Watson was charged in Count 6 and Danielson was charged in Count 7. The predicate “crime of violence” underlying the Section 924(c) charges for both Watson and Danielson was the May 30, 2014 armed bank robbery of the American Savings Bank branch charged in Count 5.[1]

II. Plea and Sentencing

On December 22, 2014, Watson pled guilty to Hobbs Act robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951 (Count 1); conspiracy to commit bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 2113(a) (Count 2); three counts of armed bank robbery, in violation of Section 2113(a) and (d) (Counts 3, 4, and 5); and use of a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of Section 924(c)(l)(A)(ii) (Count 6). His plea followed by nearly two weeks Danielson’s December 10, 2014 plea of guilty to conspiracy to commit bank robbery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 2113(a) (Count 2); two counts of armed bank robbery, in violation of Section 2113(a) and (d) (Counts 4 and 5); and use of a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of Section 924(c)(1)(A)(ii) (Count 7).

A. Watson

At his December 22, 2014 change of plea hearing, Watson engaged in the following colloquy with the Court regarding Count 5:

THE COURT: And then in May of 2014 you had an agreement with others, including your codefendants Mr. Danielson and Mr. Williander, to rob the Pearl Ridge branch of American Savings Bank located on Kamehameha Highway in Aiea; is that true?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: And in May 30th of this year, 2014, to carry out that agreement you and your codefendant, Mr. Danielson, entered the American Savings Bank branch in Pearl Ridge brandishing handguns and demanding that tellers place money in the bag; is that correct?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: And in response to those threats, the tellers placed $11, 569 in cash into a bag which you then removed, along with your codefendant, from the scene; is that true?
THE DEFENDANT: Yes, Your Honor.

12/22/14 Tr. at 24-25 [Dkt. No. 85].

On May 27, 2015, the Court sentenced Watson to a 60-month term of imprisonment as to Count 2, to run concurrently with a term of 108 months as to Counts 1, 3, 4 and 5; and 84 months as to Count 6, to run consecutively to Counts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5; for a total of 192 months. He received a term of supervised release of three years as to Counts 1 and 2, and five years as to Counts 3, 4, 5 and 6, all terms to run concurrently. Watson was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $39, 110.10 ($21, 720.93 jointly and severally with Danielson, and $9, 892.91 jointly and severally with Danielson and Williander).

B. Danielson

At his December 10, 2014 change of plea hearing, Danielson pled guilty to all of the offenses charged against him in the Indictment, responding to the Court’s inquiry regarding his conduct as follows:

THE COURT: In your own words, Mr. Danielson, would you please set forth and describe what you did that makes you guilty of counts 2, 4, 6 -- excuse me -- 2, 4, 5 and 7 of the indictment?
THE DEFENDANT: I robbed two banks with -- I brandished guns inside. As we ...

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