United States v. Gementera

379 F.3d 596 (9th Cir. 2004)



The Sentencing Reform Act, 18 U.S.C.S. § 3583(d) affords district courts broad discretion in fashioning appropriate conditions of supervised release, while mandating that such conditions serve legitimate objectives. In addition to any condition set forth as a discretionary condition of probation in 18 U.S.C.S. § 3563(b)(1)-(10), (12)-(20), the statute explicitly authorizes the court to impose any other condition it considers to be appropriate, pursuant to 18 U.S.C.S. § 3583(d). Such special conditions, however, may only be imposed to the extent that such condition (1) is reasonably related to the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C.S. § 3553(a)(1), (2)(B), (C), (D); (2) involves no greater deprivation of liberty than is reasonably necessary for the purposes set forth in § 3553(a)(2)(B), (C), (D); and (3) is consistent with any pertinent policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission pursuant to 28 U.S.C.S. § 994(a).


Appellant pilfered letters from several mailboxes. He entered a guilty plea to mail theft, and the district court sentenced him to two months' incarceration and three years' supervised release. The district court required appellant, as one of his supervised release conditions, to stand outside a post office wearing a signboard that stated that he stole mail. He appealed the district court’s order, but the appellate court affirmed that order.


Did the district court’s order requiring appellant to stand outside a post office wearing a signboard that stated that he stole mail, as one of his supervised release conditions, violate his rights under U.S. Const. amend. VIII and the Sentencing Reform Act?




The district court’s order did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment, as forbidden by U.S. Const. amend. VIII, because it was in lieu of incarceration and did not exceed the bounds of "civilized standards" or other evolving standards of decency that marked the progress of a maturing society. It did not also violate the Sentencing Reform Act because the record unambiguously established that the district court imposed the supervised release condition for the stated and legitimate statutory purpose of rehabilitation and, to a lesser extent, for general deterrence and for the protection of the public.

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