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United States v. McIntosh

April 7, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CARLTON MCINTOSH, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

In 2005, Defendant Carlton McIntosh was convicted of escaping from federal custody and sentenced to a prison term of 41 months, to be followed 3 years of supervised release. In November 2009, this court determined that McIntosh had violated the terms of his supervised release and sentenced him to an additional prison term of 16 months, to be followed by an additional 12 months of supervised release. McIntosh contends the sentence was unlawful and asks the court to reduce the term of incarceration to 5 months. For the reasons explained below, the court concludes the additional custody sentence was neither unlawful nor improper, but will reduce the duration of the additional supervised release McIntosh must serve.

BACKGROUND

Following a bench trial in March 2005, Carlton McIntosh was convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 751(a) of escaping from a community correctional center where he was completing a term of imprisonment for money laundering.*fn1 The escape statute carries a maximum penalty of five years (60 months) imprisonment. 18 U.S.C. § 751(a). Judge James Moran of this court sentenced McIntosh to a term of 41 months in prison, running concurrently with McIntosh's prior sentence, to be followed by a three-year (36-month) term of supervised release.*fn2 (Judgment, Ex. A to Def.'s Mot.; D.E. 73) McIntosh initially began serving his supervised release in September 2006, but by May 2007, he had violated his release conditions. Judge Moran determined that McIntosh had committed a crime while on release; had failed to cooperate with or report to his Probation Officer; had failed to obtain regular lawful work; and had left the judicial district without permission. (Judgment for Revocation, D.E. 110.) The court revoked McIntosh's release and ordered him imprisoned for an additional 14 months, to be followed by a consecutive term of 22 months of supervised release, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3583. (Id.) McIntosh served 14 months in prison and began his term of supervised release in June 2008.

In August 2009, the Government again moved for revocation of McIntosh's term of supervised release, and the court held a hearing on this matter on November 25, 2009. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court revoked McIntosh's release for a second time. (See Judgment, D.E. 136.) The court found, by a preponderance of the evidence, that McIntosh had associated with persons engaged in criminal activity; had committed a crime while on release; and had failed to address his restitution obligations, all in violation of the terms of his supervised release. (Id.) The Government's evidence demonstrated that, among other violations, McIntosh had fraudulently obtained a driver's license and a debit card under a false name and had used the documents to rent a car. McIntosh was stopped and arrested while in possession of the rental vehicle, which had been reported stolen by the rental company, but failed to report the arrest to his probation officer. The court ordered McIntosh to serve 16 months in prison for his violations, followed by another additional supervised release period of 12 months. (Amended Judgment, D.E. 137.) The court expected McIntosh to surrender to federal law enforcement authorities on January 8, 2010, but he failed to do so, and the court issued a bench warrant. McIntosh had fled the jurisdiction by the time he was apprehended on February 3, 2010, and has been in federal custody since that date.

In multiple motions, McIntosh asks the court to reconsider its judgment and sentence, specifically, by reducing the term of his reimprisonment from 16 months to five months. For the reasons explained below, the motion is denied, but the court will alter its prior order with regard to the duration of McIntosh's additional supervised release in conformity with the requirements of Section 3583(h). McIntosh will be required to serve 16 months in prison, followed by six months of supervised release.

DISCUSSION

Section 3583(e)(3) governs the revocation of a defendant's supervised release from federal custody and the terms of his reimprisonment. The statute permits a sentencing court to require that a defendant serve all or part of his assigned supervised release in prison if the court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant violated the terms of his release. 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(3). In this case, the court has found serious violations and revoked McIntosh's release on two separate occasions. McIntosh's underlying crime of escape from federal custody is a Class D felony*fn3 and, thus, Section 3583(e)(3) authorizes the court to impose a term of up to two years of imprisonment upon any single revocation of release. Pursuant to Section 3583(h), the court may also require that McIntosh be again placed on supervised release after he has served his term of reimprisonment. 18 U.S.C. § 3583(h).

The statutory authority bestowed upon the court by Section 3583 is subject to a single limitation: The court may not impose a combined sentence of reincarceration and supervised release that is longer than the maximum term of supervised release authorized for the original crime. See United States v. Russell, 340 F.3d 450, 454 (7th Cir. 2003) (citing Johnson v. United States, 529 U.S. 694, 705-06 (2000)); see also United States v. Clark, 305 Fed. Appx. 295, 296 (7th Cir. 2008). This limitation is made explicit in the text of Section 3583(h) itself: "The length of such a term of supervised release shall not exceed the term of supervised release authorized by statute for the offense that resulted in the original term of supervised release, less any term of imprisonment that was imposed upon revocation of supervised release." 18 U.S.C. § 3583(h). Judge Moran initially sentenced McIntosh to a three-year term of supervised release for his felonious escape from custody, the maximum term available for a Class D felony under 18 U.S.C § 3583(b). Hence, the combined duration of McIntosh's reimprisonment and any additional supervised release that this court may impose under Section 3583(h) may not exceed a total of 36 months.

McIntosh makes two separate arguments in support of his request that the court reconsider his sentence. First, he contends that the court should reduce the term of his reimprisonment to account for the 14 months that he spent in prison following the first revocation of his release in May 2007. Second, McIntosh argues that the court erred in imposing a 16-month term of reimprisonment because the sum of his initial imprisonment (41 months) and his subsequent prison terms for release violations (14 months and 16 months, respectively) exceeds the 60-month maximum sentence for escape under 18 U.S.C. § 751(a). The court addresses both of these arguments in turn.

A. McIntosh's Prior Imprisonment

Defendant McIntosh initially requested that his sentence be reduced by the entire time that he had previously spent on supervised release. After the Government referred Defendant to the relevant Seventh Circuit precedent on this issue, however, McIntosh conceded that he was not entitled to any credit for time spent on supervised release prior to revocation. (Def.'s Reply, at ¶ 6.); See United States v. Eskridge, 445 F.3d 930, 933 (7th Cir. 2006) ("When, as in this case, supervised release is revoked and the defendant reimprisoned, he gets no credit for time previously served on supervised release.") The Eskridge rule makes good sense. It would substantially strip revocation of its power to sanction if a prisoner were rewarded with credit for the time he spent violating the terms of his supervised release. McIntosh's remaining sentence will not be reduced to account for the months that he spent on supervised release prior to May 2007 and November 2009. As he concedes, he is entitled to no credit for these periods.

Nevertheless, McIntosh continues to urge that his reimprisonment must be reduced to account for the 14 months that he spent in prison beginning in May 2007. As already noted, the term of imprisonment for a violation of supervised release is controlled by Section 3583(e)(3), which imposes a 2-year statutory cap on the term of imprisonment that this court may order for McIntosh's violation. McIntosh argues that his previous 14-month imprisonment should be aggregated with his current term of 16 months against the statutory cap. The resulting 30-month total, McIntosh argues, exceeds the cap and mandates that his custody sentence be reduced by at least six months. McIntosh's argument overlooks, the language of Section 3583(e)(3), which permits the court to impose a term of up to two years in prison "on any such revocation" of his release. 18 U.S.C. 3583(e)(3). That language, added by Congressional amendment in 2003, makes "clear that Congress intended to ensure that a district court is no longer required to reduce the maximum term of imprisonment to be imposed upon revocation by the aggregate length of prior revocation imprisonment terms." United States v. Knight, 580 F.3d 933, 937 (9th Cir. 2009). Among the Courts of Appeals that have considered this issue, the overwhelming consensus is that a defendant is not entitled to aggregate his prior terms of imprisonment for the purposes of Section 3583(e)(3). See United States v. Tapia-Escalera, 356 F.3d 181, 188 (1st. Cir. 2004) (statutory cap "applies afresh" to each revocation sentence); United States v. Lewis, 519 F.3d 822, 824 (8th Cir. 2008) (the 2003 amendment "abolished the requirement that revocation prison terms be aggregated for purposes of § 3583(e)(3)"); United States v. Williams, 425 F.3d 987, 989 (11th Cir. 2005) ("statutory caps explicitly apply to each revocation of supervised release"). As these cases make clear, the two-year statutory cap imposed by Section 3583(e)(3) applies only with regard to the court's most recent revocation of McIntosh's release.*fn4 Thus, the court's decision to return McIntosh to prison for 16 months does not exceed its statutory authority. With respect to Section 3583(e)(3), McIntosh is entitled to no credit for the time that he served in prison following his previous violations. The court stands by its determination that he must serve 16 months in custody.

Unlike the statutory provision governing reimprisonment, however, Section 3583(h), which articulates the maximum term of additional supervised release, is determined on a cumulative basis. As stated earlier, Section 3583(h) limits the length of any additional term of supervised release to "the term of supervised release [authorized for the original offense], less any term of imprisonment that was imposed upon revocation of supervised release." 18 U.S.C. § 3583(h) (emphasis added). Courts have consistently interpreted this language to encompass "the prison term in the current revocation sentence together with all the prison time served under any prior revocation sentence(s)." United States v. Brings Plenty, 188 F.3d 1051, 1054 (8th Cir. 1999); See also United States v. Maxwell, 285 F.3d 336, 341 (4th Cir. 2002) ("[T]he plain meaning of the phrase 'less any term of imprisonment . . .' is that the prison term in the current revocation sentence, together with all prison time imposed under any prior revocation sentence or sentences, must be aggregated."); United States v. Vera, 542 F.3d 457, 461-62 (5th Cir. 2008) (Aggregation requirement of Section 3583(h) was unchanged by 2003 amendments to the Act). The maximum allowable term of supervised release for McIntosh's original offense of escape is 3 years. Accordingly, the aggregation of McIntosh's previous 14-month imprisonment, his current sentence of 16 months, and the additional term of supervised release may not exceed 36 months in total. This court erred, therefore, when it previously imposed a 12-month term of additional supervised release, as the total duration of this release ...


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