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United States of America v. Richard Corbin Johnnie Corley

October 24, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
RICHARD CORBIN JOHNNIE CORLEY



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Baylson, J.

MEMORANDUM RE: POST-TRIAL MOTIONS

On June 17, 2011, Richard Corbin ("Corbin") and Johnnie Corley ("Corley") were convicted by a jury of 27 of 28 counts, including conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, multiple counts of Hobbs Act robbery related to armed robberies of pharmacies and a delivery truck driver, carjacking, possession of a firearm during and in relation to the robberies/carjacking, possession with intent to distribute the thousands of pills stolen during these robberies, and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute those pills.

Three post-trial motions have been filed as follows:

1. Defendant Corley's Motion for Arrest of Judgment Pursuant to Rule 34 (ECF No. 222).

2. Defendant Corley's Motion for New Trial Pursuant to Rule 29 (ECF No. 223).

3. Defendant Corbin's Pro Se Motion for Arrest of Judgment (ECF No. 225). Because of the severity of the crimes for which the Defendants were convicted, and their serious criminal records, the Court imposed lengthy prison sentences, much of which was required by mandatory sentencing provisions, without waiting for post-trial motions to be filed or a presentence report to be prepared. This Memorandum will dispose of the three Motions noted above, all of which the Court finds to be without any merit.

I. Summary of Defendants' Motions

Defendant Corley's Motion to Arrest Judgment Pursuant to Rule 34 asserts that the statutory language of each count for which the Defendant was convicted requires the particular activity which constitutes a violation of that statute to be "in furtherance of" the criminal activity, and that this phrase is an element of the offense. Citing United States v. Spinner, 180 F.3d 514, 516 (3d Cir. 1999), for the proposition that a "defendant has a substantial right to be tried only on charges presented and returned by a grand jury" the absence of the phrase "in furtherance of" in the indictment in this case is a fatal defect.

Defendant Corley also argues that the government indicted the Defendant on the incorrect offenses, and he should have been indicted under 18 U.S.C. § 2118 which addresses crimes committed in which a "controlled substance belonging to or in the care, custody, control, or possession of a person registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration under § 302 of the Controlled Substances Act" is taken during the commission of a robbery or theft.

Defendant Corbin's Motion for a New Trial, although citing Rule 29, actually seeks relief under Rule 33, and asserts that the evidence was insufficient because none of the eye witnesses identified the Defendant and all of the cooperating witnesses were impeached with "their numerous inconsistencies" and several admitted to committing perjury while testifying in front of the grand jury.

The Motion filed by Defendant Corbin pro se also repeats Corley's argument that the indictment was insufficient because it does not allege that the violation was "in furtherance of" the criminal activity.

II. Discussion

Corbin and Corley committed a series of gunpoint pharmacy robberies from the spring of 2009 through December 2009. Corbin and Corley, the ringleaders of a group of co-conspirators they recruited, did not always rob the pharmacies together. Corley, for example, enlisted Eugene "Khalil" Butler, Curtin Brown, and/or Salim Shabazz when Corbin was unavailable. Corbin, who was a severe crack addict, committed multiple robberies with people other than Corley, including Jamil Lloyd and Joshua Waiters. Corbin and Corley enticed confederates by promising and paying them thousands of dollars for their help.

Corley and Corbin bragged about doing "their homework" and planning their robberies. They robbed on Fridays, targeting "mom and pop" stores because the owners had no guards, scant security and were unlikely to be armed. The robbers also chose pharmacies outside Norristown and Philadelphia, in the surrounding counties. They scouted out their victims and, as with their prior drug dealer ...


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