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Supervised Release

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United States v. Cory Melvin (3rd Cir. October 2020)

The Third Circuit vacated a district court order denying a defendant early termination of supervised release, holding that the district court applied the wrong legal standard when it found the defendant had not established changed, unforeseen, or exceptional reasons warranting early termination. A district court has broad authority and discretion to terminate a term of supervised release “if it is satisfied that such action is warranted by the conduct of the defendant released and the interest of justice.” 

United States v. Carlos Saul Becerra (5th Cir. October 2020)

The Fifth Circuit vacated special conditions of a defendant’s supervised release and remanded for resentencing holding that an absolute ban on computer use or internet access for ten years after serving a 12.5-year sentence was plain error. The Court held that the condition was overbroad because it was not narrowly tailored by scope or duration and would preclude defendant from participating meaningfully in modern society for long periods of time due to the ubiquitous nature and importance of the Internet.

United States v. Thomas Alonzo Bolin (2nd Cir. September 2020)

The Second Circuit vacated a defendant’s supervised release condition and remanded for resentencing holding that a condition of release prohibiting him from online speech promoting or endorsing violence was unconstitutionally vague and violated defendant’s right to free speech under the First Amendment. The Court held that language in the condition defining “violence” included open-ended language allowing the condition to be applied without limits.

United States v. Christopher J. Abbate (5th Cir. August 2020)

The Fifth Circuit affirmed several conditions of the defendant’s lifetime term of supervised release as a sex offender, including conditions prohibiting him from possessing any pornographic materials, but held that a condition prohibiting use or possession of video games and gaming consoles was overbroad unless limited to consoles that allow internet communication.

United States v. Albi Doka (2d Cir. April 2020)

Upon the defendant’s appeal of his revocation of supervised release, the Second Circuit held that the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Haymond did not overrule its prior precedent that district courts may engage in fact-finding when revoking a defendant’s supervised release and imposing an additional term of imprisonment under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(3).

United States v. Ronald Samuel Jackson (4th Cir. March 2020)

The Court affirmed the defendant’s reduced sentence under the First Step Act where the sentencing court sentenced the defendant to time served, and not less time than he had already served, in order to prevent the defendant from “banking” the excess time and applying it in a potential future revocation of his supervise release.

United States v. Roger William Campbell II (9th Cir. September 2019)

The Court affirmed the district court’s order sentencing the defendant to consecutive terms of imprisonment for violating his supervised release. Even though the district court had initially imposed concurrent terms of imprisonment and supervised release, the Guidelines allow a sentencing court to impose consecutive or concurrent sentences following the revocation of supervised release.

United States v. Jon Julian Cabral (10th Cir. June 2019)

The Court struck a defendant’s condition of supervised release that allowed the probation officer to determine whether the defendant poses a risk to third parties and then require the defendant to notify those third parties, holding that this was an improper delegation of judicial authority to the probation officer.

United States v. William Block (7th Cir. June 2019)

The Court held that the district court lacked jurisdiction to revoke the defendant’s supervised release since the defendant was not served with a formal revocation notice until after he had served the rest of his term of supervised release in custody while awaiting the revocation proceeding. The Court also rejected the Government’s argument that the defendant’s supervised release term was tolled once he was detained with two months left in the term.

United States v. Haymond (U.S. Supreme Court, June 2019)

The Court struck down 18 U.S.C. § 3583(k) which required district courts to impose a mandatory minimum sentence upon revoking a term of supervised release for certain offenses, as the Court cannot impose a sentence exceeding a term of supervised release without a jury finding guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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