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United States v. Darling

United States District Court, D. Vermont

March 14, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JOSEPH LEE DARLING

OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS FOR RECONSIDERATION (Docs. 17 & 52)

Christina Reiss, Chief Judge United States District Court.

Pending before the court are Defendant Joseph Lee Darling's motions for reconsideration of the court's denial of his motions to file a late notice of appeal. (Docs. 17 & 52.) Defendant contends that the court should grant his motions for reconsideration because the court "lacked jurisdiction to revoke his term of supervised release and impose a prison term as a result of the violation [of his conditions of supervised release]." Id. at 2-3. The government opposes the motions.

The government is represented by Assistant United States Attorney Wendy L. Fuller. Defendant is represented by Federal Public Defender Michael L. Desautels.

I. Factual and Procedural History.

The court assumes the parties' familiarity with the underlying facts and procedural history, and therefore briefly recounts only those facts which are pertinent to Defendant's pending motions. On July 1, 2010, Defendant commenced a five year term of supervised release. On January 20, 2015, while on supervised release. Defendant was charged with distributing Oxycodone and detained. Defendant was subsequently indicted, and on June 9, 2015, Defendant pled guilty to conspiring to distribute Oxycodone. On September 25, .2015, based on his pending drug charge, a petition on probation and supervised release was filed. On October 1, 2015, Defendant was sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of 120 months imprisonment based on his guilty plea to one count of conspiring to distribute Oxycodone.

On October 1, 2015, Defendant waived his preliminary hearing, asked the court to proceed with his supervised release violation as part of his sentencing, and admitted to the supervised release violation:

Defense counsel: Your Honor, just procedurally, [Defendant] is going to, when the [c]ourt brings this up, admit the violation and resolve his supervised release case today [so that] it... [is] okay to then speak about the sentencing on that[.] . . .

(Docs. 11 & 48 at 21-22.) Defendant did not raise any jurisdictional issues at this time.

Defendant's Guideline range for his supervised release violation was 33 to 36 months. Defense counsel argued for a term of "not. . . more than a year and a day and hopefully less than that, such as six or seven months." Id. at 24. Consistent with the Sentencing Guidelines, which provide that any term of incarceration for a supervised release violation be imposed consecutively, the court sentenced Defendant to a term of thirteen months imprisonment for his supervised release violation, to run consecutively to his term of 120 months imprisonment for conspiring to distribute Oxycodone.

On October 30, 2015, Defendant placed into the internal prison mail system correspondence to defense counsel, including motions to proceed in forma pauperis and for appointment of counsel, and a notice of appeal. (Docs. 17-1 & 52-1.) On November 6, 2015 at 5:27 p.m., defense counsel's office received this correspondence and first read it on November 9, 2015. Defense counsel concedes that he "wait[ed] until November 16, 2015, [the thirtieth day after the court entered judgment, ] to file the motion [requesting permission to file a late notice of appeal] because it was not until that date that counsel was able to speak to [Defendant] and confirm that he did, in fact, wish to seek approval to file a late [notice of] appeal." (Docs. 17 & 52 at 5.)

II. Conclusions of Law and Analysis.

Defendant argues that he has a "strong argument" that the court lacked jurisdiction to revoke his supervised release because his term of supervised release expired on July 1, 2015, three months prior to the date on which the court convicted and sentenced him for that violation. (Docs. 17 & 52 at 1.) Defendant contends that pretrial detention does not toll a term of supervised release, and the government did not file a warrant or summons before the expiration of his term.[1]

The government opposes the motions for reconsideration, arguing that Defendant has not identified sufficient grounds for reconsideration because the court had jurisdiction to revoke his term of supervised release, which was tolled as of January 20, 2015 based on his pretrial detention. If the court grants Defendant's motions to reconsider, the government contends that Defendant has not demonstrated good cause or excusable neglect for failing to file his appeal within fourteen days after the court's entry of judgment.

A. Whether Pretrial Detention Satisfies 18 U.S.C. § 3624(e)'s TollingRequirement that a Defendant be Imprisoned "in ...


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