United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR EARLY
TERMINATION OF SUPERVISED RELEASE RE: DKT. NO. 42
J. DAVILA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
September 9, 2013, Defendant pled guilty to one count of
possession with intent to distribute, and distribution, of
methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1).
See Plea Agreement, Dkt. 21; Presentence Report
(“PSR”), Dkt. 28. In this plea, he accepted full
responsibility for the offense. Id. ¶ 17.
Defendant was an active member of the “Barrio Malos
Locos” gang. Id. ¶¶ 7, 9, 13-14.
Court sentenced Defendant on February 24, 2014 to a term of
60 months imprisonment and five years of supervised release.
Judgment, Dkt. 37. This Court also ordered Defendant to
participate in substance abuse treatment and mental health
treatment, to abstain from alcohol, and to avoid further gang
association, all of which Defendant has done. Id.;
Response to Court's Request for Response to
Offender's Early Termination Motion (“Probation
Report”). On February 28, 2017, Defendant was released
from custody and began supervised release. Probation Report.
has completed 2 years and 9 months of his 5-year supervised
release obligation. He has reunited with his wife, daughter,
and stepson, and “modeled good citizenship.”
Id.; see also Letter from
Assistant Federal Public Defender Robert Carlin
(“Carlin Letter”) at 1. He coaches his
stepson's Little League team and participates in school
activities. See Motion for Early Termination
(“Mot.”) at 1, 3-4 (showing Volunteer
Appreciation Certificate from son's school). He is
employed by Caltrans, where he was recently promoted.
Probation Report at 2; Mot. at 1. He has fully complied with
the terms of supervised release and has not submitted any
positive drug tests. Id. After completing his mental
health assessment in July 2017, it was determined he should
not be referred for any further services. Id. He has
traveled outside the district with no negative reports.
termination of supervised release is governed by 18 U.S.C.
§ 3583(e), which requires the court to consider factors
set forth in §§ 3553(a)(1), (a)(2)(B), (a)(2)(C),
(a)(2)(D), (a)(4), (a)(5), (a)(6), and (a)(7); United
States v. Lussier, 104 F.3d 32, 35 (2d Cir. 1997)
(noting that factors address issues like “deterrence,
public safety, rehabilitation, proportionality, and
consistency”). The factors include the “nature
and circumstances of the offense, the need for deterrence,
the need to protect the public, the need to provide defendant
with training or medical care, and the relevant provisions of
the Sentencing Guidelines.” United States v.
Gross, 307 F.3d 1043, 1044 (9th Cir. 2002). After
considering those factors, the court may “terminate a
term of supervised release and discharge the defendant
released at any time after the expiration of one year of
supervised release . . . if it is satisfied that such action
is warranted by the conduct of the defendant released and the
interests of justice.” 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(1). A
defendant's “exceptionally good behavior” may
render a previously-imposed sentence inappropriate or too
harsh, but “as the district courts of our circuit have
repeatedly recognized, mere compliance is to be
expected.” United States v. Emmett, 746 F.3d
817, 823 n.2 (9th Cir. 2014).
plain language of Section 3583(e) indicates that
“district courts have broad discretion to alter the
conditions of a defendant's supervised release.”
United States v. Miller, 205 F.3d 1098, 1100 (9th
Cir. 2000); accord Lussier, 104 F.3d at 36 (noting
decision whether to grant early termination rests within
discretion of district court).
Defendant argues that termination of supervised release is
appropriate for two main reasons. First, he contends that he
has not only complied with, but surpassed the terms of his
supervised release by thriving in his current employment, his
dedication to his family, and his volunteer work. Mot. at 1.
Second, he believes early termination will help him
“move forward” and “completely close [the
gang-related lifestyle] chapter [of his] life.”
Id. The Court agrees; Defendant's progress is
exceptional. See Carlin Letter at 2.
Government opposes Defendant's request. The Government
argues that mere compliance with release conditions, and a
successful re-entry into society, are what is expected of a
defendant on supervised release. Government's Opposition
to Defendant's Motion (“Opp.”) at 4; see
also Folks v. United States, 733 F.Supp.2d 649, 651
(W.D. N.C. 2010) (“[E]ven ‘[m]odel prison conduct
and full compliance with the terms of supervised release is
what is expected of a person under the magnifying glass of
supervised release and does not warrant early
termination.'” (quoting United States v.
McKay, 352 F.Supp.2d 359, 361 (E.D.N.Y. 2005) (second
alteration in original)); United States v. Grossi,
2011 WL 704364 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 11, 2011) (“Mere
compliance with the terms of supervised release is what is
expected, and without more is insufficient to justify early
termination.”). The Probation Office also does not
recommend early termination of supervised release for
Defendant. Probation Report at 3.
considering the statutory factors and the case law, this
Court agrees with the Probation Report and the Government.
While Plaintiff's efforts are commendable, he has not yet
shown exceptional circumstances. Cf. United States v.
Bauer, 2012 WL 1259251, at *2 (N.D. Cal. April 13, 2012)
(holding exceptional circumstances not shown because mere
“resumption of employment and engagement in family-life
are expected milestones rather than a change of circumstances
rendering continued supervision no longer
appropriate”). Much like in Bauer, he has done
what is expected of him from probation. His recognition that
securing employment and stability in family will keep him on
a positive path is commendable, as are his outstanding work
reviews and recent promotion, but do not yet show exceptional
circumstances. See Mot. at 1, Attachment 1. The
Court encourages Defendant to continue cultivating a career
for himself, engaging in his community, and immersing himself
in his family-life so that exceptional circumstances may be
shown at a later date.
Court understands Defendant's position: he is tired of
having law enforcement/probation in his life and is ready to
move on. But this is Defendant's first opportunity to
seek release, he has only served half his probationary
sentence-it is too early for this Court to ensure Defendant
will not retreat into past conduct. This order, thus, should
not be construed as punishing Defendant further or casting
judgment on the status of his progress. To the contrary, the
Court wants Defendant to continue to be successful and views
probation as a mechanism to ensure this.
Defendant's motion is DENIED. Defendant is encouraged to