Archive | special needs

Monday, March 18th, 2024

Special conditions of supervised release must be based on an individualized assessment of the defendant and adequately explained.

In two recent decisions, the Second Circuit reiterated the requirements for imposing special conditions of supervised release: a sentencing court must undertake an “individualized assessment” of the defendant and “state on the record the reason for imposing” any special condition. The failure to do so is error.

In United States v. Alex Oliveras, No. 21-2954, — F.4th — (2d Cir. March 15, 2024), the Circuit vacated a special condition allowing the federal probation officer to conduct suspicionless searches of the defendant and his property.

The defendant argued, first, that this special condition violated the Fourth Amendment, and, second, that it was not adequately justified on the record.

The Circuit recognized that individuals on supervised release have a diminished expectation of privacy, and that probation officers have a legitimate need to fulfill their supervisory duties by conducting searches. At the same time, supervisees retain Fourth Amendment rights and conditions infringing …

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Categories: Fourth Amendment, special needs, supervised release

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Monday, July 19th, 2021

Second Circuit reverses a suppression order, applying “special needs doctrine” to uphold a parole officer’s search of parolee’s house without reasonable suspicion.

In United States v. Braggs, No. 20-892 (2d Cir. July 13, 2021), the Second Circuit reversed the suppression of guns and drugs found in a search of defendant’s house by his New York state parole officer. The search was based on an anonymous tip that “Mr. Braggs may have guns in his house.” The District Court for the Western District of New York suppressed the evidence, as well inculpatory statements made during subsequent police questioning at his house, on the ground that the search was not based on reasonable suspicion. The district court relied on the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision directive requiring essentially a reasonable suspicion standard for such a search, and Samson v. California, 547 U.S. 843 (2006), which tied the parameters of a search of a state parolee to the consent required of as a condition of parole.

The Second Circuit ruled that …

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Categories: Fourth Amendment, parole search, special needs

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Friday, September 6th, 2019

Second Circuit holds that Fourth Amendment not violated by Suffolk County program that permits nonprofit organization to conduct home visits with individuals on the sex offender registry in order to confirm the accuracy of their registration address.

On September 4, 2019, the Second Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Droney (joined by Judge Cabranes and Judge Raggi), affirmed a grant of summary judgment in favor of Suffolk County in a case where an individual who was required to register as a sex offender argued, in a claim for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, that home visits conducted by an organization the county had contracted with to verify his address for the registry constituted unreasonable seizures. The Court, which assumed without deciding that there was state action and that the plaintiff was “seized” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, held that the visits were constitutional under the “special needs” doctrine.

In Jones v. County of Suffolk and Parents for Megan’s Law, No. 18-1602-cv (2d Cir. Sept. 4, 2019), the County of Suffolk had contracted with a private nonprofit organization, Parents for Megan’s Law (“PFML”), to visit …

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Categories: Fourth Amendment, Sex offender registration, special needs

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Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Parole Evidence

United States v. Barner, No. 10-3700-cr (2d Cir. (Sack, Raggi, CJJ, Eaton, JCIT)

This decision, a government appeal, reverses a district court order suppressing evidence obtained during a parole search.

Barner was released to New York State parole in 2007, and signed a Certificate of Release that included his consent to having his parole officer visit him at home and search and inspect his person, residence and property. Barner was also forbidden from possessing any sort of firearm, ammunition or body armor, and was subject to a curfew.

In early 2008, someone called Barner’s parole officer and told her that Barner had fired a gun at him. She and other officers tried to reach Barner at home that night – during his curfew period – but Barner was not there. This prompted Barner to obtain a parole violation arrest warrant. Two days later, Barner reported for his weekly appointment with …

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Categories: Fourth Amendment, parole search, special needs, Uncategorized

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