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United States v. Angle

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

September 27, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
RALPH WAYNE ANGLE

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JUDGE JAMES T. MOODY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter is before the court on defendant Ralph Wayne Angle’s motion for modification of the conditions of his supervised release, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3583. (DE ## 378, 390.) For the reasons that follow, the court grants defendant’s motion, with relief different than requested.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Angle was convicted in 1998 of child pornography offenses. (DE # 102.) This court ultimately sentenced Angle to a 300-month term of imprisonment, a five-year term of supervised release, and a $300 special assessment. (DE # 297.) This court imposed standard and special conditions[1] on Angle’s supervised release. (Id.)

         Now, Angle challenges twelve of the conditions of his supervision. (DE # 390.) The United States Probation Office and Government agree that the challenged conditions should be modified, and in two cases, entirely removed. (See DE ## 384, 391.) Angle has waived his right to a hearing (DE # 390 at 2), and therefore no hearing is required. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 32.1(c)(2).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         “The point of supervised release is to rehabilitate persons discharged from prison and to assist their law-abiding return to society.” United States v. Neal, 810 F.3d 512, 519 (7th Cir. 2016). “Protection of the public from further crimes by the defendant is also an important goal of supervised release.” Id.

         Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(2), the court has the authority to “modify, reduce, or enlarge the conditions of supervised release, at any time prior to the expiration or termination of the term of supervised release.” A defendant may present “substantive challenges that raise real concerns about the offender’s and society’s prospects of benefitting from a term of supervised release.” Neal, 810 F.3d at 520. When a condition is reasonably related to a court’s sentencing goal, the condition survives substantive challenge. Id. at 521. Procedural shortcomings, however, may not be addressed via § 3583(e)(2). A defendant may not use § 3583(e)(2) to argue that a condition was not adequately linked to the offense of conviction or that evidence or other information presented at the original sentencing did not provide sufficient support for imposition of the condition. Id. at 520.

         III. ANALYSIS

         Section 3583(e)(2) requires courts to consider the eight factors contained in 28 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(1), (a)(2)(B)-(D), (a)(4)-(7) before modifying a defendant’s conditions of supervised release. This court has done so, and finds that the modifications identified in this opinion and order are necessary and appropriate in light of these considerations.

         A. Standard Condition 1

         Standard Condition 1 states, “The defendant shall not leave the judicial district or other specified geographic area without the permission of the Court or Probation Officer.” (DE # 297 at 3.) Angle objects to the condition on the basis that it is not reasonably necessary and hinders rehabilitation by, for example, restricting his ability to find work. (DE # 390 at 2.) Angle suggests that the court modify this condition to permit him to travel freely within the state of Indiana without obtaining prior permission. Angle relies on United States v. Marvin, 106 F.Supp. 3d 969, 971 (N.D. Ind. 2015) for his argument in favor of unrestricted movement throughout the state. However, in Marvin, the defendant lived in a location where areas directly surrounding his home were located in the Southern District of Indiana. Id. Here, defendant has made no such argument or showing. The Seventh Circuit has repeatedly upheld a condition restricting a defendant’s movement within the judicial district in which he was sentenced. See e.g. United States v. Gawron, 929 F.3d 473, 477 (7th Cir. 2019) (citing cases).

         The court agrees, however, that the condition could be improved with the addition of a scientier requirement. See United States v. Jefferson, 764 F. App’x 551, 552 (7th Cir. 2019). Therefore, the court modifies and replaces Standard Condition 1 with the following:

“You must not knowingly leave the federal judicial district to which you are released without first getting permission from the court or the probation office. (This condition serves the statutory sentencing purposes of public protection and rehabilitation. It also enables the probation officer to: be responsible for the defendant; instruct the defendant as to the conditions of supervision specified by the sentencing court; keep informed as to the conduct and condition of the defendant; report the defendant’s conduct and condition to the sentencing court; and aid the defendant in bringing about improvements in his conduct and condition. It also allows the probation officer to supervise the defendant by setting boundaries for travel without permission and by keeping the probation officer informed of the defendant’s whereabouts. Finally, it allows the probation officer to implement supervision methods demonstrated by social science to be effective at achieving positive outcomes.)

         B. Standard Condition 3

         Standard Condition 3 states, “The defendant shall answer truthfully all inquiries by the Probation Officer and follow the instructions of the Probation Officer.” (DE # 297 at 3.) All parties agree that Standard Condition 3 should be modified to reflect Angle’s right against self-incrimination. Accordingly, the court modifies and replaces Standard Condition 3 with the following:

“You must answer truthfully the questions the probation officer asks you related to the conditions of supervision. This condition does not prevent you from invoking your Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. (This condition serves the statutory sentencing purposes of public protection and rehabilitation. It also enables the probation officer to satisfy the statutory requirements to: keep informed as to the conduct and condition of the defendant; report the defendant’s conduct and condition to the sentencing court; and aid the defendant in bringing about improvements in his conduct and condition. The purpose of this condition is to build positive rapport and facilitate an honest discussion between the probation officer and the defendant. Accurate and complete information about the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant is necessary to implement effective supervision practices. This condition also promotes the safety of the probation officer by notifying him or her of possible safety threats (e.g., weapons or other occupants in the defendant’s home with a history of violence). The probation officer attempts to develop and maintain a positive relationship with the defendant through transparent communication and ...

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