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Ninth Circuit: Violations Alleged After Expiration of Supervised Release Term Must be Factually Related to Pre-Expiration Allegation

by Richard Resch

In a February 28, 2018, opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that U.S. District Courts may not base a revocation of supervised release upon violations that (1) were not alleged prior to the expiration of the supervisory period and (2) are not factually related to any matter raised before the court during the supervision period.

Theresa Helena Campbell pleaded guilty to mail fraud and was sentenced by the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California to 18 months imprisonment and 36 months of supervised release.

On February 7, 2017—seven days prior to the originally scheduled expiration date of her supervised release—U.S. Probation Officer Eric Siles filed a report with the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California charging Campbell with three violations of conditions of her supervision (“Violation Report”).

Siles claimed Campbell had failed to disclose her ownership of a Chevrolet Camaro and loan she helped secure in order for a friend to purchase a BMW.

According to Siles, both activities constituted clear violations of her conditions of release. The court clerk issued a summons for Campbell to appear before the court on February 27, 2017, to show cause why her supervised release should not be revoked.

After her period of supervised released ended February 14, 2017, Siles petitioned the district court to sign and order an amendment to the Violation Report to include 22 new, post-expiration allegations, 21 of which involved perjury. The parties agreed that the new allegations were “factually unrelated to any allegation raised to the court during Campbell’s supervised release term.” Nevertheless, on March 22, 2017, the district court signed and ordered the amendment to the Violation Report.

Then on April 12, 2017, Siles petitioned the court to again amend the Violation Report to include an allegation related to her ownership of the Camaro. The district court signed and ordered the second amendment to the Violation Report the next day.

Four days later, the district court conducted the violation hearing concerning the amended Violation Report. The court concluded that the government met its burden with respect to the two pre-expiration allegations and 11 of the 22 post-expiration allegations. The court sentenced her to 12 months and 1 day imprisonment followed by 24 months of supervised release. Notably, the court made the following statement: “the sheer volume of violations in this case is disconcerting to me … I’m troubled, is what I mean by that.”

The issue before the Ninth Circuit was whether the district court exceeded its authority in revoking Campbell’s supervised release since the decision was based in part on violations that were first alleged only after her term of supervised release had expired.

Campbell argued that the district court erred based on 18 U.S.C. § 3583(i), which reads in pertinent part: “The power of the court to revoke a term of supervised release for violation of a condition of supervised release … extends beyond the expiration of the term of supervised release for any period reasonably necessary for the adjudication of matters arising before its expiration if, before its expiration, a warrant or summons has been issued on the basis on an allegation of such a violation.” According to Campbell, a plain reading of the statute does not grant the district court extended jurisdiction on the facts in this case.

On the other hand, the Government urged the Court to adopt the position of the Fifth Circuit in United States v. Naranjo, 259 F.3d 379 (5th Cir. 2001), and Eleventh Circuit in United States v. Presley, 487 F.3d 1346 (11th Cir. 2007), that “a district court has the power to consider any violation of a term of supervised release and base a revocation thereupon so long as the defendant is properly before the court on a timely warrant or summons.” Note that the Fourth Circuit summarily reached the same conclusion as well in United States v. Brennan, 285 F. App’x 51 n.2 (4th Cir. 2008).  

The Ninth Circuit rejected the interpretation of 18 U.S.C. § 3583(i) espoused by its sister circuits. Instead, it sided with the Second Circuit’s interpretation in United States v. Edwards, 834 F.3d 180 (2d Cir. 2016), in which it concluded that the plain language of the statute “states that extended jurisdiction arises only upon issuance of a violation warrant or summons before expiration of supervision and pertains only to matters arising before expiration of supervision.”

The Court further clarified that extended jurisdiction under the statute is limited to only “violations alleged post-expiration” that “are factually related to matters raised in a signed warrant or summons issued before expiration.”

In applying its newly announced interpretation of 18 U.S.C. § 3583(i), the Court concluded that the district court erred in adjudicating the 11 perjury allegations because they were first submitted after the term of supervision had expired. The Court ruled that the district court did not err in adjudicating the post-expiration allegation regarding the Camaro since it related to an issue submitted prior to the expiration of the term of supervision.    

Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit vacated the district court’s judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. See: United States v. Campbell, 883 F.3d 1148 (9th Cir. 2017). 

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