United States v. Vallee

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 05-10-2012
  • Case #: 11-30131
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Callahan for the Court; Circuit Judges Hug and D. Nelson
  • Full Text Opinion

A summons to revoke a defendant's supervised release is valid to extend the court's jurisdiction to conduct a delayed revocation hearing under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(i) when the summons is signed and issued by a clerk at the direction of a judge.

Michael Vallee’s probation officer filed a petition to revoke Vallee’s supervised release. A judge reviewed the petition and ordered a clerk to sign and issue the summons. Vallee moved to dismiss the supervised release petition as an invalid extension of jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(i), which governs delayed revocation proceedings, because the summons was not signed by a judge. The district court denied Vallee’s motion and sentenced him to prison for violating his supervised release. Vallee appealed. 18 U.S.C. §§ 3606 and 3583(i) do not specifically mention who must sign the summons in order to validly extend the court’s jurisdiction beyond the expiration of the supervised release term. Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 4 and 9 provide that either a judge or a clerk must sign a pretrial summons; however, no rule governs a summons based on a petition to revoke supervised release. Rule 9 and 18 U.S.C. §§ 3606 and 3583(i) indicate that a summons does not require a judge’s signature, while Rule 4 shows that when a judge’s signature is required, the rule will so state. A judge’s signature ensures that a judge has reviewed the summons and has “found it adequate.” The clerk merely carries out the “ministerial task of affixing her signature to the summons.” Requiring a judge to sign the summons would “exalt form over substance.” Hence, the Court held that a clerk’s signature on a summons to revoke supervised release is valid to extend a court’s jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(i). AFFIRMED.

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