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United States v. Anstice

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

July 19, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Christopher Anstice, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued May 22, 2019

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. No. 3:18-cr-50 - William M. Conley, Judge.

          Before Hamilton, Scudder, and St. Eve, Circuit Judges.

          SCUDDER, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Christopher Anstice pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment and five years' supervised release. On appeal he challenges five conditions of supervised release appearing in the written judgment of conviction that the district court did not announce orally at sentencing. Because three of these challenged conditions are mandated by federal statute and two are discretionary, we affirm in part and otherwise remand.

         I

         Prior to sentencing the probation office prepared a Presentence Investigation Report, commonly referred to as a PSR. The PSR recommend a five-year term of supervised release and included a proposed plan listing multiple conditions. Five conditions appeared under the label "mandatory." The PSR also recommended a dozen or so discretionary conditions, categorized as either standard or special conditions.

         Sentencing began with the district court confirming with Anstice that he had received the PSR and reviewed it with his counsel. After announcing Anstice's ten-year custodial sentence, the court turned to supervised release, explaining that the law required a five-year term. See 21 U.S.C. § 841(b). As for the conditions of supervised release, the district judge imposed all but one of the standard and special conditions, stating: "I do adopt Condition Nos. 1 through 10 [the standard conditions], and 12 through 14 [the special conditions], as proposed and justified in the presentence report." At no point, though, did the court address the five conditions the PSR categorized as "mandatory."

         The ensuing written judgment, often shorthanded in federal criminal practice as the "J&C" (Judgment and Commitment Order), included the five supervised release conditions that appeared as "mandatory" in the PSR. The J&C included these five conditions under the heading "Statutory Mandatory Conditions." The J&C separately listed the standard and special conditions that the court had announced orally at sentencing.

         On appeal Anstice contends that the five conditions appearing as "Statutory Mandatory Conditions" in the written judgment were not orally imposed at sentencing and therefore are not part of his sentence.

         II

         We start from the familiar rule that "[i]f an inconsistency exists between an oral and the later written sentence, the sentence pronounced from the bench controls." United States v. Alburay, 415 F.3d 782, 788 (7th Cir. 2005) (quoting United States v. Bonanno, 146 F.3d 502, 511 (7th Cir. 1998)). And "any new conditions imposed in the later written judgment are inconsistent with the court's oral order and must be vacated." United States v. Johnson, 765 F.3d 702, 711 (7th Cir. 2014). Johnson provides a good example. The sentencing court there "unambiguously announced several specific conditions of supervised release" and "did not include any statement as to whether other standard conditions would apply," leading us to vacate the additional discretionary conditions that appeared only in the written judgment. Id.

         While our caselaw is clear that the oral sentence controls, we have never addressed whether the district court's failure to announce conditions of supervised release made mandatory by statute-as opposed to non-mandatory conditions- renders those conditions nullities. This case presents that question.

         While the district court's written judgment characterized and listed each of the five conditions Anstice challenges as "Statutory Mandatory Conditions" it turns out that two of those conditions are neither statutory nor mandatory. Those two conditions-the requirement for Anstice to report to the probation office within 72 hours of his release and the prohibition on his possessing a firearm, destructive device, or other dangerous weapon -do not appear as mandatory conditions ...


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