The federal courts of the United States will often sentence people convicted of serious crimes to imprisonment followed by supervised release. The courts are permitted to impose special conditions to the terms of such release as well, as long as the conditions fall within certain parameters. Recently, a Michigan court issued an opinion explaining what discretion the courts may exercise with regards to imposing special conditions in a case in which the defendant objected to the imposition of sex offense conditions after he was convicted for hiring a hitman. If you are charged with a crime, it is in your best interest to confer with a Michigan criminal defense attorney to discuss your possible defenses.
The Defendant’s Conviction
It is reported that the defendant’s children were removed from his custody by a social worker after they complained of sexual abuse. The defendant then reached out to a friend asking for a favor, by which he meant he wanted to hire a hitman to murder the social worker. He had numerous calls with his friend and then met the purported hitman in person. The hitman, however, turned out to be an undercover police officer, and the friend was an informant.
It is alleged that the government charged the defendant with attempting to hire someone to commit murder in violation of federal law. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to the statutory maximum sentence of 120 months, followed by supervised release. Additionally, the court-mandated that he participate in sex-offense treatment and assessment as special conditions of his release. He appealed, arguing that the special conditions of his release were not reasonably related to his offense.
Special Conditions of Supervised Release
District courts have the authority to impose special conditions of supervised release if the conditions bear a reasonable relation to the circumstances and nature of the offense or the characteristics and history of the defendant. In arguing that the sex-offense special conditions did not reasonably relate to the circumstances and nature of the offense, the defendant focused on the fact that the crime was not, by nature, a sex crime and noted he did not commit the crime in a sexual manner.
The court found these arguments meritless, noting that a court can impose sexual offense special conditions in any case where the conditions relate to sexual misconduct. Here, the defendant Hired a hitman to kill the person responsible for investigating the assertions that he sexually assaulted his children. Thus, the circumstances regarding his murder plot reasonably related to the abuse of his children, which constituted alleged sexual misconduct. As such, the court denied his appeal.
Confer with an Experienced Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney
Federal courts are granted a fair degree of leeway with regards to sentencing, and a penalty imposed by a court will generally not be overturned unless it constitutes an abuse of discretion. If you are charged with a criminal offense, it is smart to speak to an attorney regarding your rights. Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is an experienced Michigan criminal lawyer who takes pride in helping criminal defendants fight to protect their liberties, and if you hire him, he will diligently pursue the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case. You can reach Mr. Bernstein through the online form or by calling (734) 883-9584 to set up a meeting.