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United States of America v. Gerald Mark Williams

June 19, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GERALD MARK WILLIAMS DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew Senior, U.S. District Court Judge

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW RE JURISDICTION BASED ON FUGITIVE TOLLING

On May 10, 2011, the Court revoked Defendant Gerald Mark Williams's ("Defendant") term of supervised release and sentenced him to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons for a term of thirty-three months in prison to be followed by sixty-three months of supervised release. Though Defendant's supervised release was originally scheduled to expire on June 17, 2005, the Court held that a December 22, 2003 bench warrant stayed Defendant's term of supervised release pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3583(i) and gave the Court jurisdiction to revoke Defendant's supervised release and sentence him to an additional prison term on May 10, 2011.

On January 13, 2012, the Ninth Circuit reversed the Court's decision and held that § 3583(i) did not extend the Court's jurisdiction beyond the original June 17, 2005 expiration date. The Ninth Circuit, however, stated that Defendant's supervised release could have been tolled if he was found to be a fugitive. United States v. Gerald Mark Williams, No. 11-50210, 2012 WL 235636 (9th Cir. Jan. 26, 2012). Because the issue of fugitive tolling had not been developed by the Court during the May 10, 2011 revocation hearing, the Ninth Circuit remanded the case back to this Court for "evidentiary development and consideration of the issue of fugitive tolling." Id.

On June 5, 2012, the Court presided over an evidentiary hearing regarding the issue of fugitive tolling. After consideration of the pleadings and evidence submitted by the Parties and the arguments presented at the June 5, 2012 hearing, the Court HEREBY MAKES THE FOLLOWING FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW:

I. FINDINGS OF FACT

1. In the underlying criminal case brought by the Government against Defendant, Defendant faced a two-count indictment charging him with distributing cocaine and crack cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1).

2. On January 25, 1989, following a jury trial in the Central District Court before the Honorable A. Wallace Tashima, Defendant was found guilty on both counts. A sentencing enhancement alleging a prior conviction within the meaning of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 and 851 (namely, a conviction on September 17, 1980, in Los Angeles County Superior Court, for possession of marijuana for sale, in violation of California Health & Safety Code § 11359), was found to be true.

3. On April 17, 1989, the Central District Court sentenced Defendant to a term of imprisonment of ten years, to be followed by eight years of supervised release, on Count One. The Court also sentenced Defendant to a concurrent term of imprisonment of ninety-six months, to be followed by six years of supervised release, on Count Two.

4. On June 18, 1997, Defendant was released from custody and began his eight-year term of supervised release. Without any tolling, this term of supervised release would have ended on June 17, 2005.

5. Defendant stopped reporting to the Probation Office, in violation of the express terms of his supervision, after his routine monthly visit on November 4, 1999, and Defendant admitted that he left the United States in November 1999. Even assuming Defendant did not leave the United States and abscond until the last day of the month (i.e., November 30, 1999), by December 1, 1999, Defendant had served only 895 days of his 2,922-day supervised release term.

6. Defendant's claim that he self-deported to Belize in November 1999 is not credible. Defendant did not intend to "self-deport" because he returned to the United States without permission by May 26, 2001 at the latest, when he was arrested in Michigan. If Defendant had legitimately "self-deported," he would have not returned to the United States without permission.

7. During Defendant's November 4, 1999 probation office visit, the probation officer, William Crovella II, told Defendant that if he were to self-deport, he must report to the United States embassy in Belize immediately upon arrival. Furthermore, the probation officer instructed Defendant to have the embassy send the probation officer documentation confirming Defendant's arrival.

8. Defendant did not follow the directions of his probation officer and failed to provide adequate information to the probation officer confirming Defendant's arrival in Belize. The Court finds that this lack of communication shows that Defendant did not intend to permanently "self-deport," but merely wished to travel as he pleased while simultaneously misleading his probation officer into believing that he was no longer subject to supervision.

9. Defendant argues that certain documents that were sent to the probation officer show that Defendant did self-deport. However, the Court finds that the documents sent to the probation officer failed to fulfill the probation ...


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