United States v. Grant

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 08-15-2013
  • Case #: 12-50209
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge N. Smith for the Court; Circuit Judge Gould; District Judge Du
  • Full Text Opinion

Probation tolls when a defendant is in “fugitive status,” and a defendant assumes fugitive status when she fails to comply with the terms of her supervised release.

In 2006, Davonya Grant pled guilty to filing false income tax returns and was sentenced to five years of probation and to pay restitution. Grant later moved without reporting her new address and stopped sending the required written reports to her probation officer. The government also discovered that Grant failed to report a state felony plea for the unauthorized use of credit cards. At her revocation hearing, Grant made a discovery request for a copy of a letter she sent to the court in 2010, which contained her subsequent address in the header and a request to terminate her probation early. Grant believed this letter demonstrated she was not a fugitive. However, Grant admitted to other violations of probation and was sentenced to eighteen months incarceration, plus three years of supervised release. Grant contended on appeal that the district court lacked jurisdiction to revoke her probation because it had already expired and that her sentence was substantively unreasonable. The Ninth Circuit disagreed. First, the panel held that Grant’s probation tolled because she was in fugitive status. Grant assumed fugitive status by moving, by failing to inform her probation officer, and by otherwise failing to comply with the terms of her probation. Therefore, her revocation hearing occurred during the extended probation term. Further, Grant could not rely on the 2010 letter because she never sent it to her probation officer. The panel also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion at sentencing. Grant’s sentence was substantively reasonable because it was at the low end of the guideline range, Grant had committed a serious breach of trust by failing to report her state felony while simultaneously asking to terminate her probation early, and the new felony was similar to the underlying offence sparking a need for continuing deterrence. AFFIRMED.

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