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United States v. Greco

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

September 12, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
Dino Greco, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued May 29, 2019

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 02 CR126 - Harry D. Leinenweber, Judge.

          Before Kanne, Sykes, and Brennan, Circuit Judges.

          Sykes, Circuit Judge.

         Dino Greco spent more than a decade in prison for blowing up his ex-girlfriend's car with a pipe bomb. In 2015 he began a term of supervised release, and one of the conditions was that he not break federal, state, or local law. He violated that condition three years later when he posted threatening Facebook messages about a second ex-girlfriend despite a court order not to contact her. A federal judge approved a warrant for Greco's arrest, and seven months later a second judge revoked his supervised release and ordered a new term of imprisonment, to be followed by a new term of supervised release.

         On appeal Greco argues that the court lacked jurisdiction to revoke his supervised release because the warrant wasn't supported by probable cause. We disagree. The judge received a report explaining how Greco had broken the terms of his release by violating state law, and that was enough to establish probable cause.

         Greco also challenges two of the conditions the court imposed for his second term of supervised release. We remand with respect to both so that the lower court can clarify several terms and further explain its reasoning.

         I. Background

         In 2001 Greco threatened to put a pipe bomb in his ex-girlfriend's car if she didn't pay back a debt she owed him. She obtained a protective order, but he put the bomb in her car anyway. The bomb exploded when she opened her driver's side door, injuring her and destroying her car.

         Greco pleaded guilty to manufacturing and possessing an unregistered pipe bomb in violation of 26 U.S.C. §§ 5861(d) and 5861(f). At sentencing the government informed the court that this was the third time in ten years Greco had detonated a pipe bomb to intimidate someone who crossed him. The court then sentenced Greco to 180 months in prison. After that term ended on April 13, 2015, Greco was to remain on supervised release until April 12, 2018. One condition of that release was that he would "not commit another federal, state or local crime."

         Greco began dating a different woman during his supervised release, but they soon broke up. When Greco started sending her threatening messages, she too obtained a protective order, which prohibited him from contacting her, directly or indirectly. Rather than stop, he created a Facebook account under a fake name and continued to post threatening messages. Although he didn't send the messages directly to the ex-girlfriend, he did notify two of her friends to make sure she got the message. The posts included graphic sexual references and threats of violence against the ex-girlfriend and her family. The most concerning were several thinly veiled threats to blow up her house.

         On March 8, 2018, the U.S. Probation Office submitted a report to the district court informing it of the ex-girlfriend's protective order. Later that same day, the Schaumburg Police Department arrested Greco for violating the order. The Probation Office says it submitted another report the following day, March 9, telling the court about the arrest and requesting a warrant to transfer Greco to federal custody after his release by state officials. But this second report never appeared in the district court's docket until the Probation Office tried to add it during the course of this appeal. Greco insists that the Probation Office never actually submitted the report at the appropriate time.

         Judge Pallmeyer was serving as the emergency district judge. She approved the warrant on March 9, the same day the Probation Office says it submitted the second report. That was a Friday. But because of a clerical mistake, the warrant didn't issue until March 12, the following Monday-a month to the day before Greco's first term of supervised release would have expired.

         Because of several delays, the court did not hold a revocation hearing until November. By that point Judge Leinen-weber was presiding, and he found that Greco had broken a term of his supervised release by violating the protective order. The ...

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