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United States v. McKnight

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Frankfort

January 6, 2020

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
LLOYD ANTONI MCKNIGHT, Defendant.

          ORDER

          GREGORY F. VAN TATENHOVE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant McKnight's violation of supervised release. [See R. 45.] Magistrate Judge Matthew A. Stinnett issued a Recommended Disposition pursuant to Defendant's violation. [R. 53.] Judge Stinnett recommended incarceration for a period of six months followed by three months of an inpatient drug treatment program and three months of home detention, and no term of supervision to follow. [Id. at 7.] This Court adopts this recommendation in part and denies in part.

         I

         A

         Judge Stinnett's Recommended Disposition accurately sets forth a more detailed account of the factual and procedural background of the case. Except for what the Court summarizes in its discussion below, the Court incorporates his discussion of the record and the standard of review into this Order.

         Mr. McKnight was sentenced in this Court to forty-two (42) months imprisonment for distribution of oxycodone and possession of a firearm. [R. 27.] He began his initial three-year term of supervised release on February 25, 2016. Although this is the second request from USPO to revoke Mr. McKnight's release, this is not his second violation. In late 2017, he was arrested for speeding, reckless driving, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, and possession of an open alcohol container. In accordance with the recommendation from USPO, this Court required him to enroll in Alcoholic Anonymous, but did not revoke his release. He violated the conditions of his supervised release again on April 2, 2018 when he submitted a urine sample that tested positive for cocaine metabolite. [R. 40 at 1-2.] Mr. McKnight was sentenced to six months of home detention, eight months of weekend incarceration, and fifty hours of community service. [Id. at 2-3.]

         Defendant McKnight most recently violated his supervised release on October 17, 2019 by submitting another urine sample that tested positive for cocaine metabolite. [R. 53 at 2.] Mr. McKnight “acknowledged the use of the cocaine and voluntarily enrolled in a regimen of outpatient substance use disorder treatment.” [Id.] This is a Grade C Violation.

         Defendant's criminal history is VI and his most recent conduct is a Grade C Violation. The Report charges him with Violation #1 for violating Standard Condition #7, which prohibits him from any unlawful use of a controlled substance, a Grade C Violation, and Violation #2 for committing another federal, state, or local crime, a Grade B Violation. Possession of cocaine[1] is a Class E Felony. 21 U.S.C. § 844(a). With Mr. McKnight's criminal history category of VI and a Grade B violation, [2] Judge Stinnett calculated his Guidelines Range to be twelve (12) to eighteen (18) months, with a statutory maximum of 24 months. [R. 53 at 3.]

         Judge Stinnett conducted an initial appearance on the alleged supervised release violation on November 14, 2019. [R. 51.] Defendant entered a stipulation to the charged violations at the final hearing on November 22, 2019, conducted by Judge Stinnett. [R. 52.] The United States recommended a sentence of three months of imprisonment, three months of an inpatient drug treatment program, and six months of home detention. [R. 53 at 3.] Counsel for McKnight requested that the Defendant serve out any time imposed by the Court in a treatment facility. [Id. at 3-4.]

         After hearing from the Defendant and analyzing the record, Judge Stinnett recommended revocation of Defendant's supervised release and six months imprisonment, followed by three months of an inpatient drug treatment program and three months of home detention, and no term of supervision to follow. Defendant proposed a sentence below the Guidelines Range, which Judge Stinnett rejected. He explained that no support exists for such a downward departure and this Court agrees with his reasoning.

         B

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b)(2), a petitioner has fourteen days after service to register any objections to the R&R or else waive his rights to appeal. In order to receive de novo review by this Court, any objection to the recommended disposition must be specific. Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 637 (6th Cir. 1986). A specific objection “explain[s] and cite[s] specific portions of the report which [counsel] deem[s] problematic.” Robert v. Tesson, 507 F.3d. 981, 994 (6th Cir. 2007) (quoting Smith v. Chater, 121 F.3d 709, 1997 WL 415309, at *2 (6th Cir. 1997) (unpublished opinion)). A general objection that fails to identify specific factual or legal issues from the Recommendation, however, is not permitted, since it duplicates the magistrate's efforts and wastes judicial economy. Howard v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 932 F.2d 505, 509 (6th Cir. 1991).

         McKnight made a timely objection to the Recommendation. [R. 55.] McKnight objected to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation of imprisonment for 6 months and requested an allocution hearing. [R. 55.] An allocution hearing was held pursuant to Defendant's request. [See R. 59.] Prior to the allocution hearing, Mr. McKnight submitted another urine sample that tested positive. Therefore, the Court did not rule on the pending Report and Recommendation, as the Court wanted to take time to review all new information and arguments made at the allocution hearing. McKnight's objections are sufficiently definite to trigger this Court's obligation to conduct a de novo review. See 28 U.S.C. ยง 636(b)(1)(c). The Court has satisfied that duty, reviewing the entire record, ...


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