My (Uphill) Reentry Battle

As most of you know, this Friday is the (supposed) deadline for all the good time modifications to be complete. Due to this, my release date will change from November 2020 to approximately August 2020. Based on that, I will be about 13 months to the door and be ready to be submitted for RRC (halfway house) placement. While this was brought up at my last unit team meeting in February, I had to fight just to get them to submit me for anything at all. Why? I have family support and there is no halfway house near me. Makes a ton of sense huh?

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Justices Tell Government to Basically, Shut Up!

It was encouraging to read the oral argument transcripts in Haymond and see the Solicitor General take a drubbing. He was unable to get out a single sentence before the Justices interrupted him to tell him he was wrong. And the hearing never improved for him thereafter!
For decades, the Government has gotten so used to judges accepting the parole/probation/supervised release comparison without a question that the Solicitor General was completely unprepared for the repeated and forceful rejection of that claim. Time and time again, he returned to the tried and true, only to be told that the two were nothing alike. Not a single one of the Justices bought what he was selling.
Seemingly citing the Eaton briefs, the Justices noted that, unlike parole, the releasee has done all his time; he has been given no benefit of early release. Whereas termination of parole is merely the loss of a benefit, revocation of release imposes a new penalty. It seemed like the Court rejected the idea that this was part of the penalty for the original crime, calling it both an extension and a new penalty. Never before have we had such a system, and the fact that a conviction is valid does not mean release is too.
No matter how far the Court ultimately goes in its opinion, the Haymond case is a long overdue look at the legality of supervised release. As we examined in the past months, release has largely adopted the questionable practices of parole despite being on a different legal standing. The Eighth Circuit, seeing the writing on the wall, has already implemented new legal protections in release hearings. (United States v. Sutton, No. 17-3195 stating that while a revocation hearing is not a criminal trial, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure give a releasee the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses.)
Justice Alito, seemingly the only one against this reform, bemoaned the fact that the Court was spelling the end of supervised release. We can only hope!
In two other big cases, the Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that lifetime GPS monitoring of sex offenders constitutes a search and thus is illegal under the Fourth Amendment (Park v. Georgia, No. S18A1211). In another big ruling, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that sex offenders under Pennsylvania registration laws are “in custody” for habeas purposes. (Piasecki v. Court of Common Pleas, No. 16-4175).
Both of these also showcase that the constitutional protections that everyone is entitled to, including sex offenders, are still available. I am particularly interested in the Third Circuit ruling where basically the Court has said that with all the restrictions a sex offender must abide by, it is the equivalent of being incarcerated practically.
We will continue to monitor both of these cases and several others. In closing, I want to say thanks to two other sites for helping provide us with news and case updates. One is Wayne Dowdy’s “Straight from the Pen” blog located at https://straightfromthepen.wordpress.com and the other is Doug Berman’s Sentencing Law and Policy blog located at http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy.
Have your family check them both out as they are full of valuable information as well.
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BackSoSoon is a blog dedicated to helping sex offenders successfully reintegrate back into society. Our Corrlinks address is backsosoonblog@gmail.com and our website is www.backsosoonblog.com.
Continue reading “Justices Tell Government to Basically, Shut Up!”

Supreme Court Claims Certain Violations May Be Unconstitutional

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in United States v Haymond. As we have mentioned several times the background of Haymond’s case, we won’t go into full detail. However, because of a previous sex offense, Haymond was violated under 18 USC 3583(k) which provides for a mandatory minimum five year violation because he had additional CP on his phone and possibly up to life.

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The Import of Haymond

Later this month, the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in United States v Haymond, a case that tests the legality of increased mandatory minimums and maximums for sex offenders who are accused of committing another sex offense while on release. Haymond had the misfortune to get malware on his smartphone, which gave him all sorts of nasty little goodies, including child pornography. As the evidence was pretty conclusive that he did not deliberately download these files, the Government tried to convict him through the back door of revoking his supervised release.

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Reexamining Smith v. Doe (Part Four)

Editor’s Note: This is the final part of the series where we have reviewed the Supreme Court case of Smith v. Doe, in which is ruled the sex offender registry constitutional. Last Tuesday (Oct. 2), the Supreme Court heard another registry case in Gundy v. United States. We are in the process of reviewing the transcripts from the oral arguments and hope to have our analysis done by next week. Continue reading “Reexamining Smith v. Doe (Part Four)”