IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
July 21, 2008
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
BRUCE E. WALKER, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge
On November 15, 2007, Defendant Bruce E. Walker entered a plea of "guilty" in this matter. On November 30, 2007, the undersigned Judge ordered that Walker's recognizance bond be revoked, and Walker was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshals pending sentencing. Sentencing was continued once and reset for Friday, July 18, 2008. However, on July 17, 2008, Walker moved for a second continuance (Doc. 34). After reviewing Defendant's motion, the Court converted the sentencing to a status conference. The Court heard argument from the parties with respect to the motion and now GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Walker's motions to continue sentencing and to permit home detention.
Despite his current incarceration, Walker is employed by the United States Air Force as a Master Sergeant. On December 18-19, 2007, Walker attended hearings in person at Scott Air Force Base on the issue of whether Walker should be retained by the Air Force or discharged (See Doc. 23). At that hearing, the Administrative Discharge Hearing Board unanimously recommended that Walker "be separated with an Honorable Discharge" and that he receive full retirement benefits.
However, the Board's recommendation is not binding. The Office of the Secretary of the Air Force must review the matter for a final determination of whether Walker should be permitted to retire with benefits or whether he should be discharged without benefits. In order to remain eligible for retirement, Walker must personally appear at Scott Air Force Base from time to time to apply for extensions of his date of separation, fill out retirement and separation paperwork, and participate in other out-processing activities. If Walker is sentenced and unable to obtain furlough to personally attend these appointments, he will lose all retirement benefits by default (See Doc. 34).
Walker has indicated to the Court that a determination on his retirement from the Air Force cannot be delayed beyond one year from the time that the Administrative Discharge Hearing Board rendered its recommendation. The one-year anniversary of that date is December 19, 2008.
In light of these facts, the Court has previously continued sentencing and granted two furloughs so that Walker can personally appear at various proceedings. Now, Walker seeks an additional continuance of sentencing and also asks for pre-sentence home detention with electronic monitoring (Doc. 34). Counsel for the Government had no strong objections to the Court continuing sentencing, so long as Walker remains incarcerated.
Having fully considered Walker's motion and the parties' arguments, the Court hereby GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Walker's motion (Doc. 34). The Court DENIES the motion insofar as it seeks pre-sentence home detention with electronic monitoring. The Court GRANTS the motion insofar as it seeks a continuance, and CONTINUES sentencing to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, January 9, 2009.
The Court notes that the reason for this continuance is to permit the Air Force to decide Walker's retirement issue prior to final sentencing. To facilitate the Air Force's procedures, the Court notes that upon a proper motion and appropriate documentation from defense counsel, furlough for out-processing appointments will be considered by the Court.
Finally, defense counsel shall submit regular status reports as to the progress on Walker's retirement proceedings so that the Court can advance sentencing on the calendar as soon as practicable. Such status reports shall be due on the following dates: September 19, 2008; November 10, 2008; and December 29, 2008.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
MICHAEL J. REAGAN United States District Judge
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