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Seventh Circuit: Prisoner Has Right to Know Conditions of Supervised Release Prior to Being Released

Hogenkamp was sentenced to a term of 10 years’ imprisonment followed by 25 years’ supervised release. Fourteen months before his anticipated release from prison, he petitioned the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin to modify the terms of his supervised release. The judge denied the motion after determining it was premature, explaining that Hogenkamp could discuss the terms with his probation officer upon his release and request modification at that time. Hogenkamp appealed.

The Seventh Circuit determined “[t]o the extent that the judge believed it appropriate to defer consideration of Hogenkamp’s motion after his release, the decision is mistaken. A prisoner is ‘entitled to know, before he leaves prison, what terms and conditions govern his supervised release.’” United States v. Williams, 840 F.3d 865 (7th Cir. 2016). Federal judges may alter the terms and conditions of supervised release at any time. 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(2).

While one sentence in the Williams decision stated it was appropriate for the judge to make the terms known within a year or two before release, the Seventh Circuit explained that “[a] district judge has discretion to determine the apt time for decision – provided that a motion made a reasonable time in advance of release is resolved before supervised release begins.” A district judge also has discretion to determine whether an evidentiary hearing is necessary as well as to delay a decision if the judge has a concrete reason to think more or better information will be available closer to a defendant’s release date, the Court stated. But the judge must make a decision before release because those terms and conditions govern where a person may live, work, with whom he may associate and other matters of his day-to-day life, instructed the Court.

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Related legal case

United States v. Hogenkamp



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