In United States v. Oneal, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit examined whether a defendant who pled guilty to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery was property sentenced under the federal guidelines. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1951, the Hobbs Act prohibits obstructing commerce by means of robbery or extortion or attempting or conspiring to do so.
Defendant Oneal was arrested and convicted for his involvement in a string of cellphone store robberies. In the first robbery, upon entering the store, the defendant behaved as if he had a firearm in his waistband, and he warned those in the store not to try anything “stupid.” He pushed an employee into an inventory room. He got away with inventory. In the second robbery, he also pretended as if he had a firearm in his belt. He forced the story occupants to the back of the store and got away with inventory and cash. He attempted to rob a third store, but one of the occupants identified himself as a police officer. The defendant fled and was apprehended. Eventually he pled guilty to one count of the federal crime of Hobbs Act robbery conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a).
The defendant was sentenced to 84 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release. His sentence included the application of a three-level enhancement for possession of a dangerous weapon or giving the impression of having a dangerous weapon under U.S.S.G. § 2B3.1(b)(2)(E), and a two-level enhancement for physical restraint, U.S.S.G. § 2B3.1(b)(4)(B). The defendant challenges the application of the enhancements.