Friday, January 27, 2012

Automatic Lifetime Supervised Release on a CP case? Not so fast!!!

Brandon Inman plead guilty to possession of child pornography.  At sentencing, both defense counsel and the Government requested a supervised release term of 10 years.  The court refused, and imposed a lifetime term of supervised release.  The court also imposed a prison term of 57 months.

On January 26, 2012, the Sixth Circuit reversed this sentence. 12a0021p.06  The Court found that, even under a plain error standard of review, a court could not impose a lifetime term of supervised release without addressing 3553(a) criteria and providing reasons on the record for its choice.  The Court recognized that the Sentencing Guidelines recommended a lifetime term be imposed; however, the Court indicated that in light of the facts of the case, and the parties recommendation, serious consideration should be given as to this sentence term.  The Court further suggested to the district court: should the district court on remand decide to impose the ten-year term of supervised release recommended by the Government, the governing statute allows the court to extend the term of supervised release and to modify the conditions at any time prior to the term’s expiration if circumstances warrant such an extension or modification.

The Court also overturned some of the conditions of supervised release, including:  the requirements for mandatory drug testing, to notify the probation office and provide documentation of any prescription medication, and to provide the probation office with access to any personal financial information, as well as the prohibitions against consuming any alcoholic beverages, possession or use of a device capable of creating pictures or video, and renting or using a post office box or a storage facility.  The Court questioned the need for these restrictions, in light of the facts of the case and the offender.

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