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United States v. Woods

argued submitted pasadena california: April 5, 1993.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
WENDELL WOODS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. CV-91-3811-KN. David V. Kenyon, District Judge, Presiding.

Before: Cynthia Holcomb Hall, Charles Wiggins, and Stephen S. Trott, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Hall.

Author: Hall

HALL, Circuit Judge:

OVERVIEW AND JURISDICTION

Wendell Woods appeals the district court's order revoking his conditional release pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4246(f). The district court had jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C. §§ 3231, 4246(f). This court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We reverse.

BACKGROUND

On November 5, 1979, Mr. Woods was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment for bank robbery. While in prison, Mr. Woods was diagnosed with a mental impairment. He spent the next eight years shuttling between penitentiaries and medical centers. On February 26, 1987, he was transferred to the Federal Medical Center at Rochester, Minnesota.

In anticipation of Mr. Woods' release from custody, the district court for the District of Minnesota ("Minnesota district court") held a hearing to determine whether Mr. Woods posed a threat to society. On September 29, 1987, the Minnesota district court found that Mr. Woods was suffering from a mental disease or defect which would create a substantial risk of bodily injury to another person or serious damage to the property of another if he were released from the Rochester facility. As a result, the Minnesota district court ordered that Mr. Woods remain hospitalized pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 4246(d).

On December 1, 1987, the Minnesota district court granted Mr. Woods a conditional discharge pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 4246(e). However, Mr. Woods violated the terms of his conditional release and was recommitted on March 30, 1990.

Mr. Woods then filed a second petition for release. On November 7, 1990, the Minnesota district court granted his request. Mr. Woods' release was made conditional on the acceptance of certain terms. He signed a document indicating that he understood that he was required to follow the conditions set out in the Minnesota district court's conditional release order. One of the terms of Mr. Woods' conditional release was that he abide by the rules and regulations established by the United States Probation Office (USPO) for the Central District of California - the agency responsible for monitoring his conditional release.*fn1

Mr. Nagshineh, the USPO officer assigned to Mr. Woods' case, spoke with several psychiatrists and psychologists familiar with Mr. Woods' condition. He was told that the consumption of alcohol would negatively affect the defendant's medication. As a result, he instructed Mr. Woods not to drink alcohol.

Mr. Woods chose not to comply with this condition. On two occasions, Mr. Nagshineh discovered that Mr. Woods had consumed alcohol and had become violent. Mr. Nagshineh informed the district court for the Central District of California ("California district court") of this violation. The California district court responded by issuing a bench warrant for Mr. Woods' arrest. On August 14, 1991, Mr. Woods was taken into custody.

On August 16, 1991, the California district court held an evidentiary hearing to determine whether Mr. Woods' conditional release should be revoked. It found that one of the terms of Mr. Woods' release was that he abide by the conditions established by the USPO and that he had been instructed by Mr. Nagshineh to avoid alcohol. Because he consumed alcohol, Mr. Woods had violated the terms of his conditional release. The use of alcohol made Mr. Woods a danger to other people and the property of other people. Under 18 U.S.C. ...


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