United States v. Jose Cordero (11th Cir. August 2021)

The Federal Docket

August 18, 2021

Jose Cordero pleaded guilty to accessing child pornography with intent to view it and was sentenced to twelve months and one day of imprisonment followed by 120 months of supervised release. Cordero did not appeal and served his time in prison.

As a condition of his supervised release, Cordero was required to “notify third parties” of his status as a sex offender as directed by probation. After three years on supervised release, his probation officer petitioned the court for permission to require Cordero to notify prospective clients of his home automation installation business of his sex offender status, and the court granted this request. Cordero then filed motions to modify and terminate his supervised early release, which the District Court denied.

On appeal, Cordero argued that the court’s grant of the probation petition constituted an impermissible modification of the conditions of his supervised release, that the restriction of his internet usage was illegal under Packingham, and that the district court’s summary denial of his motions denied him meaningful appellate review.

Reviewing de novo the question of whether the court’s order was a modification of Cordero’s sentence, the 11th Circuit found that it was only an enforcement of the existing terms. Reviewing the denial of his motions for modification and for early termination for an abuse of discretion, the Circuit Court found none. Illegality is not a proper ground for modification of supervised release under §3583(e)(2), so Cordero’s challenge under Packingham would need to have been brought on direct appeal. Additionally, after Bobal, it is clear that such a challenge would have failed regardless. The district court’s summary denial of the motions was acceptable since the record establishes that the court considered the relevant factors.

Appeal from the Middle District of Florida
Opinion by Branch, joined by Grant and Tjoflat

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.

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