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

The Federal Docket

April 12, 2020

Supervised Release – Judicial factfinding in supervised release revocation proceedings under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(3) remains constitutional after United States v. Haymond.

The defendant appealed from the district court’s judgment revoking his supervised release after the Probation Office alleged that he committed three new crimes. After a revocation hearing, the district court found by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant had committed the alleged acts, which included fleeing from an officer and possessing oxycodone pills with the intent to distribute them.

On appeal, the defendant argued that his Fifth and Sixth Amendment right to due process and a jury trial were violated when the judge acted in the role of a fact-finder. The defendant argued that such “judicial fact-finding” was unconstitutional under United States v. Haymond, where the U.S. Supreme Court held that 18 U.S.C. §  3583(k), another provision governing revocation, was unconstitutional to the extent that it required a judge, upon finding a revocation, to impose an additional prison term of at least five years without regard to the length of the defendant’s initial sentence.

The Court rejected the defendant’s argument. After discussing the various opinions issued by the justices in Haymond, the Court concluded that Haymond did not apply to § 3583(e)(3) because subsection (k) only applied to a discrete set of offenses, eliminated the judge’s discretion, and imposed a mandatory term of imprisonment. This was based on a narrower view of Haymond that rejected Justice Gorsuch’s plurality opinion wherein he argued that § 3583(k) was unconstitutional under Apprendi because it authorizes additional punishment without a jury finding guilt.

On appeal from the Southern District of New York

Opinion by Cabranes, joined by Sack and Lohier

Click here to read the opinion.

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

Scroll to Top