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United States v. Clark

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

August 13, 2013

JUSTIN J. CLARK, a/k/a HECTOR, Justin J. Clark, Appellant

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (No. 2:05-cr-00099-001) District Judge: Hon. Alan N. Bloch Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) May 16, 2013

Karen Sirianni Gerlach, Esq. Lisa B. Freeland, Esq. Office of Federal Public Defender Counsel for Appellant

David J. Hickton, Esq. Donovan Cocas, Esq. Rebecca R. Haywood, Esq. Office of United States Attorney Counsel for Appellee

Before: SMITH, FISHER, and CHAGARES, Circuit Judges.


CHAGARES, Circuit Judge.

Justin Clark violated the conditions of his supervised release. At his revocation hearing, the District Court revoked Clark's release and imposed a new term of imprisonment followed by another term of supervised release. On appeal, Clark challenges only the new term of supervised release, arguing that its imposition was procedurally unreasonable and that the procedural defects rendered the sentence substantively unreasonable as well.

The statute that governs imposition and revocation of supervised release directs the sentencing court to consider factors enumerated in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). See 18 U.S.C. §§ 3583(c), 3583(e). Clark's appeal presents a question of first impression for this Court: whether a district court must conduct one § 3553(a) analysis for post-revocation incarceration and another § 3553(a) analysis for a new term of supervised release. We hold that it need not. A district court may provide a single analysis that reflects meaningful consideration of the relevant § 3553(a) factors to support each portion of a revocation sentence.

Though we reject Clark's contention that a district court imposing a post-revocation term of supervised release must conduct a second § 3553(a) analysis, we nonetheless hold that the sentence imposed was procedurally unreasonable. The record before us does not reflect meaningful consideration of the relevant § 3553(a) factors. We will therefore vacate and remand the District Court's judgment of sentence.


Clark pled guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute a substance containing cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B)(iii). In 2006, he was sentenced to 120 months of imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release. Clark later moved for a reduction of sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582. The District Court granted the motion and reduced Clark's sentence to 100 months of imprisonment. The Government later moved for another reduction pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35(b). The District Court granted that motion as well and reduced Clark's sentence to time served. Clark began his five-year term of supervised release in November 2009.

During his term of supervised release, Clark agreed to two modifications to the conditions of his release — to participate in mental health and anger management counseling and to be subject to electronic monitoring. On July 24, 2012, Clark's probation officer filed a Petition on Supervised Release, alleging that Clark had left the judicial district without the permission of the court or his probation officer in violation of the conditions of his release. The petition reported that Clark was a passenger in a vehicle that had been pulled over in Iowa and that Clark "was found to be in possession of $20, 000 cash." Appendix ("App.") 32.

Clark admitted to the violation. At his revocation hearing, where he faced an advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines ("Guidelines") range of 7 to 13 months of imprisonment, Clark requested house arrest instead of a new term of incarceration and emphasized that he had not been arrested or charged with any crime in connection with the incident in Iowa. The Government sought revocation and asked the District Court to impose 13 months of incarceration, the top of the advisory Guidelines range. The Government also represented that two separate amounts of money were found in the car — $10, 000 and $20, 000.

The District Court observed that the amount of money recovered from the car in Iowa was "questionable, " even though Clark was not charged with any crime, and detailed other misconduct that occurred during Clark's supervised release including three traffic citations, failure to make payments on fines arising from those citations, failure to make payments on a bank loan, and a drug test that indicated the presence of marijuana. App. 52-53. The court concluded that Clark's "overall conduct has demonstrated a general pattern of noncompliance with supervision and has indicated that a term of imprisonment is necessary pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 3553(a)." App. 53. The court then revoked Clark's supervised release and sentenced him to 13 months of imprisonment followed by a 47-month term of supervised release. The hearing concluded with additional discussion of the relevant § 3553(a) factors:

After considering the sentences available, the advisory guideline range, and the factors set forth in . . . Section 3553, the Court finds that this sentence is consistent with the nature, circumstances, and seriousness of the defendant's violations and his history, characteristics, educational, vocational and corrective needs, as well as the need for ...

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