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United States v. Ripley

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

October 29, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JULIUS RIPLEY, Petitioner.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          JOHN A. GIBNEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Julius Ripley, a federal inmate proceeding pro se, submitted this motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence ("§ 2255 Motion," ECF No. 28).[1] Ripley demands relief upon the following grounds:

Claim One: "Petitioner was denied the right to appeal his conviction under due process of law." (§ 2255 Mot. 4.)
Claim Two: "Petitioner had ineffective assistance of counsel when his attorney failed to file an appeal." (Id.)
Claim Three: "Petitioner was denied the right to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence that led to his conviction." (Id.)
Claim Four: "Petitioner had ineffective assistance of counsel when his trial counsel failed to file pre-trial motions to examine and challenge the sufficiency of the evidence presented by the Government." (Id. at 5, 7.)
Claim Five Petitioner's conviction for robbery should be set aside because his robbery did not affect interstate commerce. (Id. at 7-8.)
Claim Seven "The United States Government did not have jurisdiction to try this case. Petitioner had committed a local crime in which it did not fit the criteria for a federal crime." (Id. at 9.)

         For the reasons set forth below, Ripley's § 2255 Motion (ECF No. 28) will be DENIED.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On June 2, 2015, a grand jury charged Ripley with the Hobbs Act robbery of an Adcomm Store (Count One) and the Hobbs Act robbery of a Wireless Zone store (Count Two). (Indictment 1-2, ECF No. 1.) On April 13, 2016, Ripley entered into a plea agreement, wherein he agreed to plead guilty to Count One. (Plea Agreement ¶ 1, ECF No. 13.) In his Plea Agreement, Ripley waived the right to appeal his conviction or "any sentence within the statutory maximum... (or the manner in which that sentence was determined)." (Id. ¶ 6.) In the accompanying Statement of Facts, Ripley agreed, that the following facts were true and correct and the United States could have proven each beyond a reasonable doubt had the matter gone to trial:

1. On or about February 1, 2015, in the Eastern District of Virginia, JULIUS RIPLEY did knowingly and unlawfully obstruct, delay and affect, and attempt to obstruct, delay and affect commerce as that term is defined in Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951(b)(3), and the movement of articles in commodities in such commerce, by knowingly and willfully committing robbery, as that term is defined in Title 18, United State Code, Section 1951(b)(1).
2. On or about February 1, 2015, RIPLEY robbed the Adcomm store (Sprint) located at 1160 Temple Avenue, Colonial Heights, Virginia. RIPLEY entered the business at approximately 2:42 p.m., carrying a Wal-Mart bag (which contained a large plastic trash bag). RILEY produced a small, semi-automatic handgun and demanded the female employees "R.T.", and "C.H.", give him cell phones from the locked inventory cabinet. RIPLEY then demanded the United States currency from the cash register. RIPLEY then had "R.T.", and "C.H." remove their clothing, and ordered them at gunpoint into the bathroom. RIPLEY placed the stolen phones into a Sprint store trashcan, exited the back door, placed the trashcan into a vehicle that had pulled up, got into the vehicle himself, and RILEY and the driver of the vehicle fled the area. RIPLEY obtained $39, 912.00 worth of phones/tablets from the robbery, and $ 140.00 in cash.
3. At all relevant times, the identified Adcomm store traded in goods obtained through, and sold in, interstate commerce, and the robbery therefore unlawfully obstructed, ...

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