Argued September 19, 2014
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. No. 07-cr-10023-001 - Michael M. Mihm, Judge.
For UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee: Joseph H. Hartzler, Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Springfield, IL.
For TODD JONES, Defendant - Appellant: Murray Kamionski, Attorney, HALE LAW LLC, Chicago, IL.
Before BAUER, ROVNER, and WILLIAMS, Circuit Judges.
ROVNER, Circuit Judge.
After being charged with conspiracy to distribute fifty or more grams of crack cocaine and three other drug charges, Todd Jones caught some lucky breaks. He pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and, in return, the district court dismissed the remaining charges on the government's motion. Jones qualified for the safety valve provision, and then became the beneficiary of a retroactive amendment to the United States Sentencing Guidelines which ultimately led to a forty-six month sentence, followed by five years of supervised release. The conditions of supervised release required, among other things, that Jones refrain from any non-prescribed use of controlled substances, and submit a truthful written report to his probation officer with-in the first five days of each month. For a man originally facing a statutory minimum of 10 years' imprisonment, Jones's 3.8 year sentence would seem to be a gift.
Unfortunately, Jones looked this gift horse in the
mouth. Six months after he completed his sentence of incarceration and began his
supervised release, in January 2011, he was caught driving on a suspended
license and charged with obstructing a police officer. As a result, the court
modified his conditions of supervised release to require twenty-five hours of
community service and completion of a cognitive behavioral therapy program.
Jones accomplished both, but could not seem to keep himself out of trouble. In
February 2012, he allegedly resisted an officer during a traffic stop for
speeding; in October 2012, he was charged with aggravated battery relating to a
bar fight; and in June 2013, he was charged with battery relating to another
fight. Each time he eluded consequence either because the state filed no charges
or declined to prosecute at a complaining witness's request.
At the same time, Jones was having trouble complying with other aspects of the requirements of his supervised release. After his release from prison he moved in with his girlfriend and mother of his child, but on December 27, 2012, she called Jones's probation officer and told him that she wanted Jones to move out immediately. The probation officer directed Jones to report to the probation office in Rock Island the next day, but he failed to do so. For the next two weeks he lived with a friend in Galesburg, Illinois, until she forced him to leave because she did not want her address registered with the probation office. On January 9, he moved to another friend's home, but by April 2013, he was again homeless. That situation continued into May 2013, but he did not report his homelessness to his probation office as he feared the officer would " ride him" and direct him to stay in a shelter,
which he did not want to do. Jones failed to file his monthly probation reports for April, May, June, or July 2013. He also failed to report to the probation office as directed on December 28, 2012.
After the battery charges against him were filed in June, the probation officer tried to find Jones, but remained un-successful until August 2013, when he located Jones at his own apartment in Galesburg. Having been found, Jones reported for a probation office visit on August 14, where his urine tested positive for marijuana. Only one other of his fifty-three timely urine samples tested positive for a controlled substance--the one taken on September 14, 2011--but twenty-four more ...