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U.S. v. CARUSO

January 28, 2003

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JOSEPH S. CARUSO



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stephen M. Orlofsky, District Judge

OPINION

This case presents an issue which has not been frequently litigated in this District, or in the Third Circuit. Specifically, I must decide whether and under what circumstances a defendant's term of probation may be terminated early.

The facts and circumstances of this case are undisputed. After his trial on Hobbs Act extortion and federal bribery charges ended in a hung jury, Defendant, Joseph S. Caruso ("Caruso"), pled guilty on January 27, 2000, to a one-count Superseding Information charging him with conspiring to travel in interstate commerce to promote and facilitate a corrupt payment in violation of N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:27-2, and the Federal Travel Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1952, and in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371.

On April 20, 2001, this Court sentenced Caruso to a term of probation of three years, the first six months of which were to be served under house arrest. The Presentence Report, to which no objection was lodged by either the Defendant or the Government, reflected a Total Offense Level of 13, a Criminal History Category of I, and a resulting Sentencing Guideline range of 12 to 18 months. At the time of sentencing, the Government moved for a downward departure from the otherwise applicable Sentencing Guideline range pursuant to Section 5K 1.1 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines, based on Caruso's substantial assistance in the investigation and prosecution of another individual. This Court granted the Government's motion for a downward departure, and as noted above, sentenced Caruso to a three-year term of probation, beginning on April 20, 2001 and concluding on April 19, 2004.

On January 8, 2003, Caruso moved to terminate his probation early pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3564(c). Section 3564(c) provides:

Early termination — The court, after considering the factors set forth in section 3553(a) to the extent that they are applicable, may, pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure relating to the modification of probation, terminate a term of probation previously ordered and discharge the defendant at any time in the case of a misdemeanor or an infraction or at any time after the expiration of one year probation in the case of a felony, if it is satisfied that such action is warranted by the conduct of the defendant and the interest of justice (emphasis added).

Section 3553(a) provides:

Factors to be considered in imposing a sentence. — The court shall impose a sentence sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to comply with the purposes set forth in paragraph (2) of this subsection. The court, in determining the particular sentence to be imposed, shall consider:
the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant;

the need for the sentence imposed —

to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, and to provide just punishment for the offense;

to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct;

to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant; and
to provide the defendant with needed educational or vocational training, medical care, or other correctional ...

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