United States District Court, E.D. California
April 3, 2013, the court sentenced defendant James Harlan
Peters to 60 months in prison followed by 48 months on
supervised release. ECF No. 33 (Sentencing Mins.). Peters
began his term of supervised release on May 20, 2015 and
moved for early termination under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(1)
on March 28, 2018. Mot., ECF No. 49. The court identified
several issues requiring clarification based on Peters'
motion and granted Peters an opportunity to address them in a
supplemental brief. ECF No. 50. Peters then filed a
supplemental brief. Suppl. Br., ECF No. 53. The government
supports Peters' early termination motion. The Probation
Office recommends the court deny the motion. For the
following reasons, having carefully considered the question,
the court GRANTS Peters' motion.
defendant has served at least one year on supervised release,
a court may terminate the defendant's term of supervised
release “if it is satisfied that such action is
warranted by the conduct of the defendant released and the
interest of justice.” 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(1);
United States v. Emmett, 749 F.3d 817 (9th Cir.
2014). In making this determination, courts consider the
following factors: (1) the nature and circumstances of the
offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant;
(2) deterrence; (3) protection of the public; (4) the need to
provide the defendant with educational or vocational
training, medical care, or other correctional treatment; (5)
the sentence and sentencing range established for the
category of the defendant; (6) any pertinent policy statement
by the Sentencing Commission; (7) the need to avoid
unwarranted sentence disparities among defendants with
similar records who have been found guilty of similar
conduct; and (8) the need to provide restitution to any
victims of the offense. 18 U.S.C. §§ 3553(a)(1),
(a)(2)(B), (a)(2)(C), (a)(2)(D), (a)(4), (a)(5), (a)(6) and
is defendant's burden to establish that he is entitled to
the rarely-granted remedy of early termination of supervised
release.” Emmett, 749 F.3d at 824 (citations
omitted). A defendant typically carries his burden “by
alerting the district court to ‘unforeseen' or
‘changed circumstances' that implicate its initial
sentencing decision and analysis.” Id.
(quoting United States v. Miller, 205 F.3d 1098,
1101 (9th Cir. 2000)). Changed circumstances may include
“exceptionally good behavior by the defendant” or
other factors that “render a previously imposed term or
condition of release either too harsh or inappropriately
tailored to serve the general punishment goals of section
3553(a).” Miller, 205 F.3d at 1001 (quoting
United States v. Lussier, 104 F.3d 32, 36 (2nd Cir.
1997)). But because § 3583(e)(1) includes “[t]he
expansive phrases ‘conduct of the defendant' and
‘interest of justice, '” it is “clear
that a district court enjoys discretion to consider a wide
range of circumstances when determining whether to grant
early termination.” Emmett, 749 F.3d at 819.
carefully considering the parties' and Probation
Office's submissions and guided by the directive that a
sentence shall be “sufficient, but not greater than
necessary” to accomplish 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)'s
goals, the court finds early termination of Peters'
supervised release sentence serves the interest of justice
and is warranted by his post-release conduct. See 18
U.S.C. §§ 3553(a), 3583(e)(1).
on supervised release, Peters has made significant
contributions to his family and community, including caring
for his terminally ill father throughout the final stages of
his life. See Suppl. Br. at 2-3. His sister, Brenda
Eckart, provides a letter in support of Peters' motion,
describing Peters' time caring for his father in 2016 as
“[a] life changing” experience for Peters and
explaining that Peters is engaged to “a wonderful
woman, ” “has a steady job, ” “is
always there for family functions, dinners, and is the first
one we call if we need help.” ECF No. 53-1.
tradesman, Peters has maintained employment throughout his
supervised release term. Suppl. Br. at 6. He currently builds
and installs fencing in Acampo, and has concrete plans to
obtain a contractor's license and open his own fencing
company. Id. at 3; see ECF No. 53-2
(pictures of Peters' fencing work). To that end,
Peters' counsel represents early termination will help
him secure a contractor's license because the state
licensing board requires “full documentation of [his]
criminal history” and views “termination of
supervision [as] an extremely positive step in showing
rehabilitation.” Suppl. Br. at 3-4. The Court has
consulted with the Probation Officer, who confirms that
Peters' current employment has been verified and he has
reported his plans for licensure to her.
Peters has a significant criminal history, which should not
be understated, he argues not unreasonably that his assault
and misdemeanor domestic violence convictions are stale, with
the former conviction occurring “fully twenty years
ago” and the latter having arisen “out of a
volatile relationship that ended over ten years ago.”
Suppl. Br. at 5. While Peters has a past history of drug use,
he has abstained from illicit substances while on supervised
release. Mot. at 2; Suppl. Br. at 6. Probation does not argue
Peters has an ongoing issue with substance abuse, and has not
recommended ongoing treatment or testing. See 18
U.S.C. § 3553(a)(2)(D). Additionally, while Peters has
lived in a number of different locations during his term of
supervised release, he has consistently had a roof over his
head and has obtained stability with his current residential
circumstances and relationship. Suppl. Br. at 1-3.
considered Peters' conduct and the relevant 18 U.S.C.
§ 3553(a) factors, the court finds the factors weigh
sufficiently in favor of finding early termination is
appropriate. Peters' conduct on release indicates he no
longer poses a danger to the community. Id. at 4-5;
see 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(2)(C). Moreover, there
is no indication Peters requires continued educational or
vocational training, medical care or correctional treatment.
Suppl. Br. at 6; see 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(2)(D).
Peters was convicted of serious crimes, see 18
U.S.C. § 3553(a)(1), but the Sentencing Commission
encourages early termination where appropriate and early
termination here will not contribute to sentencing
disparities in light of Peters' time served, see
USSG § 5D1.2 n.5; 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(4)-(7).
his strides in his post-release life, early termination will
allow Peters to pursue his professional goals and continue
his current success. The court therefore ...