Decided: October 25, 2012
In this case, the Fourth Circuit upheld the revocation of a federal prisoner’s supervised release and subsequent imprisonment for engaging in criminal activity while on release. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial judge had improperly relied on the defendant’s need for substance abuse treatment in imposing the resentence. The Fourth Circuit held that under the Supreme Court’s opinion in Tapia v. United States, 131 S. Ct. 2382 (2011), it is impermissible for a trial judge to base or lengthen the resentencing of a defendant in a revocation of supervised release hearing on the defendant’s need for drug rehabilitation. However, the court stated that, while the trial judge did mention the defendant’s need for substance abuse treatment to coincide with his prison term, the revocation sentence was chiefly based on the defendant’s repeated violations of the law during his supervised release.
-John C. Bruton, III