Archive | supervised release

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

No Wins for Criminal Defendants Today

The Court issued two summary orders in criminal cases today. Neither Appellant prevailed.

  1. United States v. Humphries, No. 14-985-cr (2d Cir. May 26, 2016) (Cabranes, Straub, and Lohier)

Humphries was convicted after a jury trial of interstate travel in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud to defeat Canadian tax revenue, conspiracy to manufacture tobacco products without a license, and money laundering. He was sentence to 72 months in prison.

On appeal, Humphries raised four arguments: (1) insufficiency of the trial evidence; (2) improper preclusion of certain affirmative defenses; (3) constructive amendment of the indictment; and (4) improper failure to suspend jury deliberations when it became “apparent” that he was no longer competent to stand trial. The Court addressed only the sufficiency argument, rejecting the other three claims without discussion.

The Court first held that the evidence was sufficient to establish Humphries’s intent to “distribute the proceeds of …


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Categories: criminal history, sufficiency, supervised release

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Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

Second Circuit Updates – March 16, 2016 – Home Confinement as Condition of Supervised Release, Sentencing Enhancement for Using Gun in a Robbery, Scope of Cross Examination

Three short summary orders today:

First up, United States v. Fiume: In this case, the sentencing court imposed “GPS tracking” as a condition of Mr. Fiume’s supervised release, but never stated that it was also imposing home detention, a “separate and additionally burdensome condition.” Nonetheless, a condition of home detention appeared in Mr. Fiume’s written judgment. The circuit vacated the home detention condition and remanded for the written judgment to be corrected. The circuit otherwise upheld Mr. Fiume’s 10-month prison sentence as reasonable.

Next up, another sentencing case, United States v. Crum. Here, Mr. Crum argued that the sentencing court should not have enhanced his weapon possession sentence on the basis that the weapon had been used in a robbery. The circuit disagreed, finding the enhancement was not clearly erroneous based on a witness’s 911 calls about a gunpoint robbery by two men, one wearing black and one …


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Categories: cross-examination, sentencing, supervised release

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Friday, August 24th, 2012

Let’s Get Metaphysical

United States v. Cassesse, No. 10-2210-cr (2d Cir. July 11, 2012, amended July 25, 2012) (Newman, Katzmann, Parker, CJJ)

This case untangles a mathematic quandary left by some unclear statutes: how can a life term of supervised release, imposed on a supervised release violation, be reduced by the number of months of the prison term imposed for that same violation?  Here the district court simply sentenced the defendant to twelve months in prison on the violation to be followed by another life term of supervised release.  Describing the issue as “almost metaphysical,” the circuit affirmed.

Cassesse was originally convicted under a drug statute that carries a maximum possible supervised release term of life, and was sentenced to that, to follow an eighty-seven month term of imprisonment.

After his release to supervision, Cassesse pled guilty in a new federal case – this one involving racketeering – and received a …


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Categories: supervised release, Uncategorized

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Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

That’s What She Said

United States v. Carthen, No. 10-4817-cr (2d Cir. May 23, 2012) (Winter, McLaughlin, Cabranes, CJJ)

Defenant Tyrone Carthen appealed the government’s reliance on hearsay at his supervised release violation hearing. The circuit, finding no error, affirmed.

Carthen was charged with violating his supervised release by beating and threatening his ex-girlfriend, Marquita Cox. The matter was investigated by Carthen’s probation officer, Darcy Zavatsky, who interviewed Cox and other witnesses, and also reviewed various police and court records. At the VOSR hearing, however, the government called only Zavatsky, who was permitted to, over objection, describe what she had learned. Just before the hearing, it emerged that Cox, who had been cooperative at first, was refusing to testify because she did not want to be respnosible for sending Carthen back to jail. Just after the district court decided the case, Cox submitted a letter to the court asserting that she had …


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Categories: good cause, hearsay, supervised release, Uncategorized

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Thursday, March 15th, 2012

PC World

United States v. Roccisano, No. 10-5237-cr (2d Cir. March 14, 2012) (Katzmann, Parkjer, CJJ, Restani, JCIT) (per curiam)

Guideline section 4A1.1(d) adds two criminal history points if the defendant committed the federal offense while under a criminal justice sentence, e.g., probation, parole or supervised release. The defendant here was deported to Italy in 2006 after completing the prison portion of a federal drug sentence that included a five-year term of supervised release. He was found in the United States in 2010, before the term of supervised release had expired, and the district court assessed those points. On appeal, he argued that this was error, because he had never been actively supervised in light of his deportation.

The circuit rejected this argument, joining at least five other circuits in holding that a term of supervised release is not extinguished by the defendant’s deportation. The court also noted that the amended version …


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Categories: criminal history, supervised release, Uncategorized

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Saturday, August 6th, 2011

To The Manner Porn

United States v. Jennings, No. 10-1642-cr (2d Cir. July 22, 2011) (Kearse, Miner, Chin, CJJ)

For defendant Russell Jennings, looking at child pornography was a hard habit to break. He served a twenty-one-month possession sentence in a 2006 case then, in 2009, while on supervised release, did it again. For the 2009 case, he received a long prison sentence, plus a concurrent supervised release violation sentence on the 2006 case, and a lifetime term of supervised release.

His appellate claims related largely to the way the evidence against him in the 2009 case was developed. He argued that his probation officer was improperly involved in the procurement of the search warrant and criminal complaint, and that incriminating statements he made to the officer were obtained in violation of the Fifth Amendment. The circuit affirmed.

For the first argument, Jennings asserted that his probation officer lacked the statutory and constitutional authority …


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Categories: Fifth Amendment, supervised release, Uncategorized

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Sunday, June 12th, 2011

A Condition Precedent

United States v. Spencer, No. 10-1869-cr (2d Cir. May 20, 2011) (Parker, Pooler, Lohier, CJJ)
Joseph Spencer left much to be desired as a supervised-releasee.
He was originally sentenced to time served and three years’ supervised release for bank fraud, then, after a hearing, the district court found that he, in essence, committed the same crime while on supervision. Spencer was also subject to Standard Condition 6, which required him to “notify the probation officer at least ten days prior to any change in residence or employment,” and the district court also found that Spencer violated Condition 6. The court sentenced him to a total of fourteen months’ imprisonment for everything. While Spencer did not challenge the finding of new criminal conduct on appeal, the circuit agreed that his other violation conduct was not “clearly and specifically forbidden by Condition 6″; it vacated and remanded for resentencing.
The evidence

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Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

PC World

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 …


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Saturday, March 27th, 2010

What A Difference A Day Makes

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 …


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Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Circuit to Probation: Three’s a Crowd

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 …


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Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Extension Headache

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 …


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