United States v. Haymond

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Sentencing
  • Date Filed: October 26, 2018
  • Case #: 17-1672
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 869 F.3d 1153 (10th Cir. 2017)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether the Tenth Circuit erred in holding “unconstitutional and unenforceable” the portions of 18 U.S.C. § 3583(k) that require revocation of a convicted sex offender’s supervised release and imposition of a five-year minimum term of imprisonment upon a finding by a preponderance of the evidence that the sex offender violated the conditions of his release.

A district court sentenced Respondent to thirty-eight months of imprisonment and ten years supervised release for possession of child pornography. Respondent violated numerous conditions of his release, resulting in probation officers searching Respondent’s apartment and discovering a mobile phone containing images of sexual abuse of a child. The district court applied 18 U.S.C § 3583(k) to Respondent’s violations, which required revocation of his supervised release and reimprisonment for at least five years. The Tenth Circuit remanded for proceedings under a different provision, holding that § 3583(k) violated the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, because the mandatory revocation of supervised release and minimum term of imprisonment stripped judges of their discretion in sentencing and imposed heightened punishment on sex offenders for new conduct not tried by a jury. Petitioner argues that the Tenth Circuit erroneously expanded the right to a trial by jury to administration of a resulting sentence, because Supreme Court precedent establishes that administration of an already imposed sentence does not implicate Sixth Amendment rights. While Respondent’s violation could form the basis of separate prosecution, Petitioner notes that Supreme Court precedent categorizes the consequences of violating release conditions as part of the penalty for the initial offense, as opposed to an independent punishment. Finally, Petitioner argues that the Tenth Circuit invalidated more of the statute than necessary by deeming it unenforceable when the court could have remanded for a trial by jury under § 3583(k).

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