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United States v. Emmett

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

April 17, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DENNIS WILLIAM EMMETT, AKA Dennis Emmett, Defendant-Appellant

Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California February 11, 2014

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. 2:07-cr-00134-DDP-3. Dean D. Pregerson, District Judge, Presiding.

James H. Locklin (argued), Assistant Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Los Angeles, California, for Defendant-Appellant.

Mark Remy Yohalem (argued) and Robert Edward Dugdale, Assistant United States Attorneys, Office of the United States Attorney, Los Angeles, California, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Before: Dorothy W. Nelson, Richard A. Paez, and Jacqueline H. Nguyen, Circuit Judges. Dissent by Judge Nguyen.

OPINION

Page 818

D.W. NELSON, Senior Circuit Judge

Dennis Emmett (Emmett) appeals the district court's denial of his motion for early termination of supervised release. We conclude that the district court did not adequately explain its reasons for rejecting Emmett's arguments in favor of early termination, and therefore vacate the district court's order and remand for further proceedings.

I. Background

Emmett pled guilty to one count of mail fraud on December 12, 2008, and was subsequently sentenced to fifty-one months of imprisonment and a three-year term of supervised release. This conviction arose out of Emmett's participation in a scheme to trick victims into investing in fraudulent companies that claimed to purchase lottery tickets and distribute the proceeds to investors. Tens of thousands of people fell victim to this scheme, resulting in total losses between $14 million and $20 million.

Two years after Emmett was released from custody, he filed a motion for early termination of supervised release pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e). Emmett argued that continuing his term of probation was a waste of resources because his offense was non-violent; he never violated his terms of supervised release; and the probation office was not providing him with training, medical care, or other correctional treatment.

Page 819

The district court denied Emmett's motion five days after it was filed, and did so without holding a hearing or receiving a response from the government or the probation office. The order denying the motion reads, in full:

Defendant Dennis Emmett's Ex Parte Application For Early Termination of Supervised Release (DOCKET NUMBER 227) filed on August 1, 2013 is hereby DENIED. Defendant has not provided any reason demonstrating that continuing supervised release imposes any undue hardship on defendant.

Emmett appeals the denial of his motion.

II. Standard of Review

Our decisions " have repeatedly held that a district court enjoys significant discretion in crafting terms of supervised release for criminal defendants." United States v. Weber, 451 F.3d 552, 557 (9th Cir. 2006). Consistent with a district court's broad discretion in imposing terms of supervised release, the language of § 3583(e) gives district courts broad discretion in determining whether to grant a motion to terminate supervised release. 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(1); United States v. Hook, 471 F.3d 766, 771 (7th Cir. 2006). We therefore review the district court's decision for abuse of discretion. See United States v. Townsend, 98 F.3d 510, 512 (9th Cir. 1996); United States v. Lowe, 632 F.3d 996, 997 (7th Cir. 2011).

III. Discussion

Emmett claims that the district court abused its discretion by applying an incorrect legal standard, and by failing to provide a sufficient explanation for its ...


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