United States v. Franklin, No. 20-30136 (9th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Defendant Franklin pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A)(i)–(ii) and 2, and robbery affecting interstate commerce (Hobbs Act robbery) in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1951(a).
The Ninth Circuit concluded that binding precedent forecloses Franklin's contention that Hobbs Act robbery is not categorically a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(3)(A). The panel concluded that there are two distinct questions that this court answers in examining a hearsay statement at sentencing: (1) whether the statement is "procedurally reliable" and (2) whether the statement is "substantively reliable." If the court answers either question in the affirmative, then the statement may be considered at sentencing. The panel explained that this is a disjunctive test: If the court answered either question in the affirmative, then the statement may be considered at sentencing. In this case, the government provided enough specifics so that Franklin was not put to the burden of proving that the enhancement did not apply, and that there were adequate procedural opportunities for Franklin to challenge the extrinsic, nonhearsay evidence corroborating Coconspirator Hiler's hearsay statements. The panel concluded that there was no error in the district court's conclusion that the evidence sufficiently corroborated Hiler's statements and that the admission of those statements at sentencing did not deprive Franklin of due process. Furthermore, the district court did not clearly err in implicitly finding the two coconspirators' statements to corroborate each other enough to be substantively reliable, and that their admission at sentencing thus did not violate due process.