United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the Recommended Disposition [R.
402] filed by United States Magistrate Judge Hanly A. Ingram.
The Defendant, Christopher Bentley, is charged with three
violations of his supervised release conditions. Id.
at 2. These three violations include the use of a controlled
substance not prescribed by a physician and committing
another state, federal, or local crime. Id. Judgment
was originally entered against the Defendant in December
2014, after Mr. Bentley pled guilty to conspiracy to
manufacture methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1) and 846. Id. at 1. He was
originally sentenced to 46 months followed by a three-year
term of supervised release. Id. Mr. Bentley began
his term of supervised release on December 6, 2017.
September 7, 2018, the United States Probation Office issued
a Supervised Release Violation Report which initiated these
proceedings. Id. This report alleged three
the Report stated that the Defendant submitted a urine sample
that tested positive for methamphetamine. Id. In
response to this result, the Defendant signed an admission
that he “wanted to have some fun and used
methamphetamine and hydrocodone with ‘a couple of
girls' approximately three years ago.” Id.
Based on this admission the Defendant was charged with
violating Standard Condition #7 of his supervised release
which prohibits the use of any controlled substance except as
prescribe by a physician. Id. at 2. This is a Grade
the Report charged the Defendant with two violations of the
condition that he refrain from committing another federal,
state, or local crime. Id. Both violations stem from
the Defendant's confession that he used both
methamphetamine and hydrocodone. Id. Under Sixth
Circuit precedent, a supervised releasee who uses a
controlled substance is considered to have possessed that
controlled substance. United States v. Crace, 207
F.3d 833 (6th Cir. 2000). Therefore, Bentley's confession
established his possession of methamphetamine and
Hydrocodone, both Schedule II controlled substances. As such
his conduct would be a Class E felony under 21 U.S.C. §
844(a), Simple Possession of a Controlled Substance. Each of
these offenses is a Grade B violation.
final revocation hearing, held on November 5, 2018, Bentley
competently entered a knowing, voluntary, and intelligent
stipulation to all violations that had been charged by the
USPO in the Supervised Release Violation Report. [R. 402.] On
November 6, 2018, Magistrate Judge Ingram issued a
Recommended Disposition which recommended revocation of
Bentley's supervised release and a term of five months of
imprisonment followed by a two-year term of supervised
release. Id. at 7.
Ingram appropriately considered the 18 U.S.C. § 3553
factors in coming to his recommended sentence and noted that
Mr. Bentley received a below Guidelines sentence for his
conviction. Id. at 6. Prior leniency provides
grounds for imposing a harsher sentence upon revocation. This
is particularly true where, as here, the defendant was given
a significant downward departure of eleven months. To this
point, a violation is also a serious breach of the
Court's trust. The Defendant's casual attitude
towards his conditions of release whether here or when his
bond was revoked for drug use shows a need for an above the
minimum sentence of revocation.
determining an appropriate recommended sentence, the
Magistrate Judge also pointed to the serious nature and the
circumstances of the Defendant's underlying conviction.
He noted that Bentley had obtained pseudoephedrine so
co-conspirators could make meth and was also addicted to
hydrocodone at the time of that crime. Therefore, the meth
and hydrocodone use shows a connection to the underlying
conspiracy conviction and reveals the Defendant's
willingness to continue to engage in criminal activity. In
analyzing the severity of the offense, Judge Ingram properly
gave credit to the Defendant for his candor to the Court and
his Probation Officer.
to Rule 59(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the
Recommended Disposition further advises the parties that
objections must be filed within fourteen (14) days of
service. Id. at 9. See 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1). No. objections have been filed, and Defendant
Bentley submitted a waiver of allocution. [R. 403.]
Generally, this Court must make a de novo
determination of those portions of the Recommended
Disposition to which objections are made. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(c). When no objections are made, as in this case,
this Court is not required to “review . . . a
magistrate's factual or legal conclusions, under a de
novo or any other standard.” See Thomas v.
Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 151 (1985). Parties who fail to
object to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation
are also barred from appealing a district court's order
adopting that report and recommendation. United States v.
Walters, 638 F.2d 947 (6th Cir. 1981). Nevertheless,
this Court has examined the record and agrees with Magistrate
Judge Ingram's Recommended Disposition. Accordingly, and
the Court being sufficiently advised, it is hereby
ORDERED as follows:
1. The Recommended Disposition [R. 402] as
to Defendant Christopher Bentley is ADOPTED
as and for the Opinion of the Court;
2. Defendant Bentley is found to have violated the terms of
his Supervised Release as set forth in the Report filed by
the U.S. Probation Officer and the Recommended Disposition of
the Magistrate Judge;
3. Bentley's Supervised Release is
4. Mr. Bentley is SENTENCED to the Custody
of the Bureau of Prisons for a term of five months ...