United States v. Green, No. 08-5548-cr (2d Cir. August 13, 2010) (per curiam)
An unconstitutionally vague condition of supervised release is the theme of this most recent per curiam opinion.
Defendant Green, while serving a long prison sentence for crack cocaine trafficking, was convicted of possessing a weapon and marijuana in prison. As part of his sentence, the judge imposed a condition of supervised release prohibiting him from associating with the Bloods or any other criminal street gang and from “the wearing of colors, insignia, or obtaining tattoos or burn makes relative to” such a gang.
The circuit, upholding the associational prohibition, struck the rest of the condition. The “color prohibition” did not provide Green with “sufficient notice of the prohibited conduct. The range of possible gang colors is vast and indeterminate.” One police department manual’s list of gang colors includes white, blue, black or combination of the two, with …
United States v. Janvier, No. 08-5978-cr (2d Cir. March 26, 2010)(Jacobs, Lynch, CJJ, Restani JCIT)
On July 21, 2008, the last day of Janvier’s three-year supervised release term, the probation department submitted a petition to the district court alleging that Janvier had violated the conditions of his supervised release. That same day, the court checked the box on the probation form ordering the “[i]ssuance of a [w]arrant.” The warrant did not actually issue, however, until July 23, 2008. When Janvier appeared in court on the petition he argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to revoke his release because his supervised release term had already expired. The district court disagreed and, after he admitted violating his supervised release, sentenced him to five months’ imprisonment to be followed by thirty-one additional months of supervised release.
On appeal, the circuit reversed based on the “plain language of the governing statute” which only extends …
United States v. Reeves, No. 08-2966-cr (2d Cir. January 7, 2010) (Leval, Pooler, Parker, CJJ)
Lamont Reeves pled guilty to possessing child pornography. As a condition of his supervised release the district court required that he “notify the Probation Department when he establishes a significant romantic relationship and … inform the other party of his prior criminal history concerning his sex offenses.” It also required that Reeves provide his probation officer with his “significant other’s” contact information.
The court of appeals vacated the condition. First, it agreed that the condition was too vague to be enforceable. “What makes a relationship ‘romantic,’ let alone “significant” in its romantic depth, can be the subject of endless debate that varies across generations, regions and genders.” The condition had “no objective baseline” that would give anyone guidance as to what might constitute a “significant romantic relationship” and Reeves’ continued freedom during supervised release should …
United States v. Vargas, No. 08-1542-cr (2d Cir. May 5, 2009)(Calabresi, Livingston, CJJ, Restani, JCIT)
In connection with a drug conviction, Raphael Varas was sentenced to a five-year term of supervised release. In January of 2008, he pled guilty to a supervised release violation. At his sentencing, the district judge said “the sentence is going to be six months’ home confinement,” and entered a written judgment providing that Vargas “shall be on supervised release for … [s]ix (6) months home confinement and electronic monitoring.” The court made no mention of any supervised release beyond the period of home confinement.
Two months later, however, the court entered an “Amended Judgment” that contained the same six-month period of home confinement but also continued the original five-year term of supervised release. Vargas appealed from the Amended Judgment, arguing that, since the court revoked his supervised release in January, absent a new violation, the …
United States v. MacMillen, No. 07-3377-cr (2d Cir. September 23, 2008) (Hall, Livinston, CJJ, McMahon, DJ)
MacMillen pled guilty to possessing child pornography, and the court sentenced him to seventy-eight months’ imprisonment and supervised release for life. On appeal, he complained about two of the conditions of his supervised release: a prohibition on his being anywhere “where children are likely to congregate,” and his probation officer’s ability to address “third-party risk issues” with MacMillen’s employers.
The circuit found no abuse of discretion. The court found the first condition was not overbroad, because it was expressly limited only to places where children are likely to congregate; there is simply nothing in the condition that indicates that MacMillen is forbidden from entering areas where children are unlikely to be. Nor is the condition improperly vague; it gives adequate notice of what conduct is prohibited.
MacMillen next complained that the third-party risk condition …
United States v. Gill, No. 07-0284-cr (2d Cir. April 17, 2008) (Cabranes, Sotomayor, Wesley, CJJ) (per curiam)
Gill, who pled guilty to making false statements in a health care matter, unsuccessfully challenged two of his special conditions of supervised release. The first, which barred him from “engaging in the business of counseling,” was reasonably related to the need to protect the public, since Gill had in the past falsely represented himself as qualified to provide mental health services, when in fact he was not. The other condition – a requirement that he continue making restitution payments arising from an earlier condition – was likewise proper because it was reasonably related to his history and characteristics…
United States v. Hargrove, No. 06-4276-cr (2d Cir. August 16, 2007) (Feinberg, Calabresi, Wesley, CJJ).
Terrence Altman had pled guilty to a drug misdemeanor (yes, there are drug misdemeanors), but violated his supervised release by using cocaine. While awaiting sentencing on that violation, he tested positive again. He admitted to that violation as well and, in all, faced a three to nine month revocation range. However, Judge McMahon sentenced him to one year in prison, without giving notice of her intention to upwardly depart.
On appeal, he argued that he should have been entitled to notice of the court’s intention to impose a sentence higher than recommended by the Chapter 7 policy statements. The Circuit affirmed.
The court began by noting that, ten years ago, it had held that there was no right to such notice, because revocation sentences are governed by Chapter 7 policy statements, and these non-binding policy …
Categories: departure, guideline, notice, policy statement, supervised release, Uncategorized