United States v. Emmett

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 04-17-2014
  • Case #: 13-50387
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Nelson for the Court; Circuit Judge Paez; Dissent by Circuit Judge Nguyen
  • Full Text Opinion

When denying a petitioner’s motion based on 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e), a district court must provide an adequate reason for denying the motion; and, it is not an abuse of discretion for a court to require a defendant to demonstrate that he suffered an undue hardship as one of the factors for a 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e) claim.

Dennis Emmett is serving a fifty-one month prison sentence and a three-year supervised release term for mail fraud. Two years after his release, Emmett filed a motion for early termination of supervised release pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e). Emmett argued that continuing the probation was a waste of resources because he committed a nonviolent offense. Additionally, Emmett argued that his probation officer was not providing him with adequate correctional treatment. The district court denied Emmett’s motion. On appeal, Emmett argued that the district court abused its discretion by applying an incorrect legal standard and by failing to provide a sufficient explanation for its decision. Emmett also argued that the district court required Emmett to demonstrate that his supervised release was causing an undue hardship. The Ninth Circuit held that 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e) does not require a petitioner to demonstrate undue hardship, but instead, district courts are instructed to exercise their discretion in light of a number of factors. The panel also held that the district court had not abused its discretion by imposing an undue hardship requirement. Additionally, the panel considered whether the district court had a duty to explain its reasons for rejecting Emmett’s request for early termination of his supervised visits and whether it provided an adequate explanation. Emmett’s motion was denied without a hearing and the only explanation from the district court was that Emmett had failed to demonstrate undue hardship from the supervised release. The panel concluded that this was not a sufficient enough explanation and the district court therefore improperly denied Emmett’s motion. VACATED and REMANDED.

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