United States v. Turner

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Parole and Post-Prison Supervision
  • Date Filed: 08-07-2012
  • Case #: 11-10038
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge McKeown for the Court; Circuit Judge Noonan; Dissent by Circuit Judge M. Smith
  • Full Text Opinion

A civil detention under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act does not amount to a term of “imprisonment” so as to preclude and toll the commencement of a sex offender’s supervised release term.

Marc Christopher Turner pleaded guilty to distributing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Upon his release from prison for his criminal conviction, Turner was admitted for “Adam Walsh Act Review” and was civilly detained for four years under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (“Walsh Act”) stay-of-release provision under 18 U.S.C. § 4248. During this time, the district court denied Turner’s motion to terminate his term of supervised release. Turner argued that his term of supervised release expired during the period in which he was civilly committed. The government responded by asserting that Turner’s civil commitment effectively stayed his supervised release term. On appeal, the Court considered three statutory schemes: (1) 18 U.S.C. § 4248 (stay-of-release provision under the Walsh Act); (2) 18 U.S.C. § 3624(a) (defining “imprisonment”); and (3) 18 U.S.C. § 3624(e) (supervised release statute). First, in discussing the Walsh Act, the Court noted that “§ 4248(a) contains no reference to a prisoner’s term of imprisonment,” but “simply authorizes detention beyond the ordinary release date.” Second, under § 3624(a), “term of imprisonment” means “the sentence imposed by the sentencing judge.” Third, § 3624(e) provides that a term of supervised release “commences on the day the person is released from imprisonment.” The term of supervised release is tolled “during any period in which the person is imprisoned in connection with a [criminal] conviction.” Because Turner’s civil detention under § 4248 does not constitute imprisonment “in connection with a conviction” under § 3624(e), his term of supervised release was not tolled during his civil detention. REVERSED.

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