Special Conditions of Supervised Release

In USA v. Jeremy S. Cary, the 7th Circuit held that the special conditions of supervised release “must: (1) be reasonably related to the factors identified in § 3553(a), include the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant; (2) involve no greater deprivation of liberty than is reasonably necessary for the purposes set forth in § 3553(a); and (3) be consistent with the policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission.”

“[T]he terms of supervised release must be reasonably related to the goals of sentencing—deterrence, rehabilitation, and protecting the public—in light of the history and characteristics of the defendant.”

Jeremy Cary pled guilty to one count of failing to register as a sex offender. The district court sentenced him to thirty-three months’ imprisonment. Cary appealed and challenged various special conditions of his supervised release, including: a ban on any alcohol and mood-altering substances, required participation in sex offender treatment, computer and internet monitoring, mental health services, and the costs associated with certain special conditions.

The Court acknowledged that Cary gave up his challenge to the ban on alcohol at sentencing but that the condition regarding mood altering substances be removed as a special condition.

The Court affirmed the District Court’s requirement that Cary participate in sex offender treatment.

The Court acknowledged that the District Court’s requirement that Cary “participate with the U.S. Probation Office’s Computer and Internet Monitoring Program” and “install filtering software on any computer [he] possesses or use[s] which will monitor/block access to sexually oriented websites” was a challenging area of the law.

The Court ultimately remanded this issue back to the District Court to allow the court to define more precisely the limitations and to give a reason for imposing this special condition of supervised release.

The Court went on to uphold the mental health services provision of probation, but also remanded the costs issue to determine whether Cary was “financially able” to comply.

Case Decided January 6, 2015.

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