Monday, August 19th, 2019

Second Circuit Vacates Excessive Community Service Condition

Today in United States v. Parkins, No. 18-1019 (2d Cir. Aug. 19, 2019), the Second Circuit—for the second time—reversed a district court’s imposition of more than 400 hours of community service as a special condition of supervised release.

Back in 2017, the defendant was sentenced to time served and three years of supervised release for his role in bank and health care fraud conspiracies. As a special condition of supervised release, the district court imposed 300 hours of community service per year, for a total of 900 hours.

The defendant appealed, arguing that this amount of community service violated 18 U.S.C. § 3583(d) because it was not reasonably related to any legitimate statutory purpose of supervised released; it involved a greater deprivation of liberty than reasonably necessary; and it was inconsistent with Sentencing Guidelines Section 5F1.3 Application Note 1, which states that community service “generally should not be imposed in excess of 400 hours.”

On the first appeal, the Second Circuit vacated the community service condition and remanded. On remand, the district court issued a written opinion and re-imposed the 300-hour-per-year community service condition for the remaining period of supervised release. The defendant appealed again.

On this second appeal, the Second Circuit again vacated the condition. The Circuit confirmed that Section 5F1.3 Application Note 1 was intended to set “a general limit of 400 hours of community service for a supervisee’s entire term of supervised release, rather than a yearly cap” of 400 hours. In addition, the Circuit found no adequate basis to distinguish this case “from the generality of cases wherein courts should not impose” excess community service. As a result, the Circuit ruled that imposition of this amount of community service was an abuse of discretion, vacated the condition of supervised release, and remanded for resentencing.

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