Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, December 15, 2017

Johnson: District Courts Must Consider 3553(a) Factors When Denying Motions for Early Termination of Supervised Release

In United States v. Johnson, No. 17-12577 (Dec. 15, 2017) (Tjoflat, Hull, Julie Carnes) (per curiam), the Court concluded that the district court abused its discretion by summarily denying the defendant's motion for early termination of supervised release under 18 U.S.C. 3583(e)(1).

Relying on its 3582(c)(2) precedents, the Court made clear that the district court must consider the relevant 3553(a) factors when denying a 3583(e)(1) motion, and the record must reflect that the district court actually considered those factors in order to permit meaningful appellate review.  In that case, the Court concluded that the record was devoid of any such consideration, because the court summarily denied the motion without explanation.  In the motion, he explained that, after obtaining Johnson relief, he had over-served by 11 years and had successfully re-integrated himself into the community in the year since his release.  The Court rejected the government's speculative argument that the district court implicitly considered the factors because it had presided over the defendant's trial/sentencing more than 20 years earlier.  Nor could any such consideration be inferred from the defendant's 3583(e)(1) motion, because it made no mention of the factors and the government was not ordered to respond.  Accordingly, the Court found an abuse of discretion, and vacated and remanded for further consideration.