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United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Paul Xavier ESPINOZA, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 17-16666

Decided: January 26, 2021

Before: McKEOWN, CALLAHAN, and BRESS, Circuit Judges. Megan Rachow, Esquire, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Gregory WIlliam Addington, Esquire, Assistant U.S. Attorney, William Ramsey Reed, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Elizabeth Olson White, Esquire, Assistant U.S. Attorney, USRE - Office of the US Attorney, Reno, NV, for Plaintiff-Appellee Cullen Macbeth, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Office of the Federal Public Defender, Greenbelt, MD, Wendi L. Overmyer, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, for Defendant-Appellant


Federal prisoner Paul Xavier Espinoza appeals from the district court's order denying his 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion to vacate his conviction and sentence. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2253. Reviewing de novo, see United States v. Reves, 774 F.3d 562, 564 (9th Cir. 2014), we affirm.

Espinoza challenges his conviction and sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) for using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Espinoza's contention that Hobbs Act robbery, 18 U.S.C. § 1951, is not a crime of violence for purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(A) is foreclosed. See United States v. Dominguez, 954 F.3d 1251, 1260-61 (9th Cir. 2020) (reaffirming that Hobbs Act robbery is a crime of violence under the elements clause of § 924(c)(3)). Espinoza asserts that Dominguez was wrongly decided, but as a three-judge panel, we are bound by the decision. See Miller v. Gammie, 335 F.3d 889, 900 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc) (three-judge panel is bound by circuit precedent unless that precedent is “clearly irreconcilable” with intervening higher authority).


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