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United States v. Pratt

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division

March 13, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JEFFERY STEVEN PRATT, Defendant.

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

          HANLV A. INGRAM UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         The Court, on referral, considers reported supervised release violations by Defendant Jeffrey Steven Pratt. See D.E. 68. District Judge Van Tatenhove imposed a judgment against Defendant on January 11, 2012, following his guilty plea to possession with the intent to distribute oxycodone. D.E. 47 at 1. Defendant was originally sentenced to fifty-seven months of imprisonment and a three-year term of supervised release. Id. at 2-3.

         On February 20, 2015, Defendant began service of his term of supervision. In March 2017, Defendant's supervised release was revoked due to his use and possession of a controlled substance (marijuana). See D.E. 67. At that time, Defendant was sentenced to nine months of imprisonment to be followed by a two-year term of supervised release. Id. at 2-3. Defendant again began service of his term of supervision in September 2017, and his term is scheduled to expire in September 2019. Defendant is supervised through the United States Probation Office (“USPO”) in Pikeville, Kentucky.

         I.

         On October 2, 2018, the USPO issued a Supervised Release Violation Report (“the Report”) charging Defendant with two violations of his release conditions. The USPO then secured a warrant from Judge Van Tatenhove the following day. See D.E. 68; D.E. 69.

         As background for Defendant's present charged violations, the Report alleges that, on October 1, 2018, Defendant provided a urine specimen that tested positive via instant testing device for amphetamine and methamphetamine. Defendant admitted to his probation officer to ingesting Adipex and methamphetamine and signed a Positive Urinalysis Admission Report detailing his use. Notably, Defendant does not have a prescription for amphetamine.

         Based on this conduct, the Report first alleges that Defendant violated the condition of his supervised release that states: “You must refrain from any unlawful use of a controlled substance. You must submit to one drug test within 15 days of release from imprisonment and at least two periodic drug tests thereafter, as determined by the court.” This conduct would constitute a Grade C violation. See U.S.S.G. § 7B1.1(a)(2).

         Next, the Report alleges that Defendant violated the condition of his supervised release that states: “The defendant shall not commit another federal, state or local crime.” Here, the Report states that amphetamine and methamphetamine are Schedule II controlled substances and that, “[d]ue to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals' finding that use equals possession, and with Mr. Pratt's prior drug conviction, simple possession of amphetamine and methamphetamine constitutes conduct that would result in a violation of 21 U.S.C. 844(a), a Class E Felony.” This conduct would constitute a Grade B violation. See U.S.S.G. § 7B1.1(a)(2).

         II.

         The Court conducted an initial appearance pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.1 on February 26, 2019. D.E. 71. During the hearing, Defendant made a knowing, voluntary, and intelligent waiver of his right to a preliminary hearing. Id. At that time, the United States made an oral motion for detention; Defendant requested release. Id. Based on the heavy defense burden under 18 U.S.C. § 3143(a), the Court found detention was required. Id.

         At the final hearing on March 8, 2019, Defendant was afforded all rights under Rule 32.1 and 18 U.S.C. § 3583. D.E. 73. Defendant waived a formal hearing and stipulated to the violations set forth in the Report. Id. The Court found Defendant to be competent to stipulate to the violations and that the stipulation was knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently made. Id. The Court also found the stipulation to be consistent with the advice of Defendant's counsel. Id.

         Of course, the Court must find “by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant violated a condition of supervised release.” 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(3); see also United States v. Cofield, 233 F.3d 405, 406 (6th Cir. 2000) (“In order to revoke supervised release, the sentencing court must find by a preponderance of the evidence that a defendant has violated a condition of his supervised release.”). Defendant's stipulation permits the Court to find that he engaged in conduct that is, at worst, a Grade B violation under the Guidelines. See U.S.S.G. § 7B1.1(a)(2).

         During the final hearing, the government argued that Defendant's supervised release should be revoked and that he should be sentenced to thirteen months of incarceration followed by twelve months of supervised release. Defense counsel, on the other hand, requested that, if the Court were inclined to recommend a sentence at the high end of the Guidelines, the Court recommend no additional term of supervised release be imposed. Defendant briefly ...


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