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United States v. Olson

United States District Court, E.D. California

December 19, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff
v.
BRUCE OLSON, Defendant

          ORDER ON MOTION FOR EARLY TERMINATION OF SUPERVISED RELEASE (DOC. NO. 43)

         On October 22, 2019, Defendant Bruce Olson filed a motion for early termination of supervised release. See Doc. No. 43.

         Background

         On June 22, 2009, following a change of plea pursuant to a plea agreement, Olson was sentenced to 51 months imprisonment and 120 months of supervised release for violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B), possession of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors. See Doc. Nos. 31, 32. The factual basis for Olson’s crime involved possession of over 600 images of minors in sexually explicit conduct, including images of prepubescent minors and/or children under the age of twelve. See Doc. No. 27. Olson’s term of imprisonment ended on December 21, 2012, and as of the date of this order, Olson has served approximately 84 months of his term of supervised release. Olson’s supervised release is set to terminate on December 20, 2022.

         On July 31, 2018, Olson filed a motion for early termination of supervised release. See Doc. No. 37. That motion was denied without prejudice to reapplication in one year. See Doc. No. 41.

         On October 22, 2019, Olson filed this motion for early termination. See Doc. No. 43.

         Legal Standard

         18 U.S.C. § 3583 inter alia permits a court to terminate a term of supervised release, after considering various factors in 18 U.S.C. § 3553. See 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e); United States v. Emmett, 749 F.3d 817, 819 (9th Cir. 2014). Those factors are: (1) the nature and circumstances of the offense and the nature and characteristics of the defendant, see § 3553(a)(1); (2) the need for the sentence imposed to provide adequate deterrence, see § 3553(a)(2)(B); (3) the need for the sentence imposed to protect the public from further crimes by the defendant, see § 3553(a)(2)(C); (4) the need for the sentence to provide the defendant with needed educational, vocational, medical, or other correctional treatment or aide, see § 3553(a)(2)(D); (5) the kind of sentence and the sentencing range established for the applicable category of offense in the sentencing guidelines, see § 3553(a)(4); (6) any pertinent policy statement issued by the Sentencing Commission, see § 3553(a)(5); (7) the need to avoid unwarranted sentence disparities, see § 3553(a)(6); and (8) the need to provide restitution to any victims, see § 3553(a)(7). After considering these factors, a court may terminate 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); Emmett, 749 F.3d at 819. In considering the “interest of justice,” the Court may also consider any “undue hardship” that the defendant might be suffering. See Emmett, 749 F.3d at 820. District courts must explain its decision to either grant or deny a motion for early termination of supervised release. See id. at 820-21.

         Defendant’s Argument

         Olson argues that he has received intensive sex offender treatment in the Bureau of Prisons and has been continuously enrolled in treatment since his release. He has done well and excelled in therapy provided both by the government’s contracted provider (Counseling and Psychotherapy Center (“CPC”)) and, since March 2017, a privately retained provider. He plans on continuing private therapy even after his supervised release terminates. His therapist is supportive of early termination and believes that Olson is not a danger to the community and will likely not reoffend. Olson has been able to resume his career in water-well drilling. Although his license was removed after his conviction, he has been allowed to partner with an existing licensed contractor. Olson has been told that he may apply for relicensing, but his chances of success would be significantly increased if supervised release is terminated early. Further, Olson has been unable to travel to the Central Coast of California to see aging relatives because the probation department of the Central District of California will not approve the travel. Finally, Olson has not violated any terms of his supervised release. Because he has received the maximum benefit of supervised release, and is not a danger to the community, supervised release should be terminated early.

         Government’s Argument

         The United States argues that it has contacted Olson’s probation officer, and the officer opposes early termination. The probation officer acknowledges that Olson has not had any violations of the terms of supervised release, but Olson has not been 100% committed to sex offender treatment with CPC’s program. While attending CPC, Olson was pessimistic and voiced his disinterest during group therapy session and stated that the individual and group therapy sessions were a fraud. Further, in August 2019, Olson took a polygraph examination. Although no violations of the terms of supervised release were discover or disclosed, Olson stated that “it was likely he had masturbated to sexual thoughts of minors.” The United States argues that the reasons discussed by the probation officer support a denial of Olson’s motion. Further, the United States argues that the need to avoid unwarranted sentence disparities among defendants with similar records and sentences supports a denial of the motion. The United States’ counsel, who has worked over 250 child exploitation cases, can think of only one or two cases in which that individual’s term of supervised release ended early. Also, considerations of affording adequate deterrence, reflecting the seriousness of the offense, and protecting the public counsel against ending supervised release early. The government has a compelling interest to protect children from sexual exploitation, an interest that the Supreme Court has called “of surpassing importance.” Olson was convicted of a serious crime, which warrants serious consequences.

         Defendant’s Reply

         Olson argues that the reasons articulated do not warrant a denial of his motion. The probation department made the same point about CPC and his commitment to therapy over a year ago in opposition to his previous motion. The fact remains that the probation department permitted Olson to contract for his own therapy in March 2017 and he has successfully done so ever since. With respect to the polygraph results, Olson contends that the polygraph examination in August 2019 was unlike previous exams. The examiner was contracted through CPC. Olson argues that he remembers the examiner asking, “Is it possible that you had a sexual thought about a minor in the past three years?”, and that he believed that he answered “yes, it was possible.” The polygraph report ...


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