United States v. Edward, 082416 FED2, 15-741-cr

Docket Nº:15-741-cr
Opinion Judge:Reena Raggi, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:United States of America, Appellee v. Owen Edwards, AKA Ed, Defendant-Appellant, Lamont Muller, AKA Dell, AKA Cuz, Marcus Colvin, Donald Gatlin, AKA Jitt, Joseph Ellis, Lyndon Gordon, AKA Panama, Javon Praylou, AKA Joc, Rodney Morgan, AKA Red, AKA Rodney Barton, Wheeler Johnson, Jerimy Escalera, AKA DJ Gadget, Benjamin Gregor, Gerjuan Tyus, AKA...
Attorney:Steven Y. Yurowitz, Newman & Greenberg LLP, New York, New York, for Defendant-Appellant. Marc H. Silverman, Assistant United States Attorney (Sarah P. Karwan, Sandra S. Glover, Assistant United States Attorneys, on the brief), for Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connec...
Judge Panel:Before: SACK, RAGGI, DRONEY, Circuit Judges
Case Date:August 24, 2016
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
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United States of America, Appellee

v.

Owen Edwards, AKA Ed, Defendant-Appellant,

Lamont Muller, AKA Dell, AKA Cuz, Marcus Colvin, Donald Gatlin, AKA Jitt, Joseph Ellis, Lyndon Gordon, AKA Panama, Javon Praylou, AKA Joc, Rodney Morgan, AKA Red, AKA Rodney Barton, Wheeler Johnson, Jerimy Escalera, AKA DJ Gadget, Benjamin Gregor, Gerjuan Tyus, AKA Cali, Tiffany Harris, Amber Harris, Leticia Goosby, AKA Tit, Defendants.[*]

No. 15-741-cr

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

August 24, 2016

Argued: March 30, 2016

On appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Chatigny, J.) revoking supervised release, defendant challenges (1) the court's jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(i) to adjudicate violations formally charged after the scheduled expiration date of supervision, although here involving conduct closely related to the requisite pre-expiration charge and disclosed in connection therewith; and (2) the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the post-expiration charge of new criminal activity related to narcotics.

Steven Y. Yurowitz, Newman & Greenberg LLP, New York, New York, for Defendant-Appellant.

Marc H. Silverman, Assistant United States Attorney (Sarah P. Karwan, Sandra S. Glover, Assistant United States Attorneys, on the brief), for Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, New Haven, Connecticut, for Appellee.

Before: SACK, RAGGI, DRONEY, Circuit Judges

Reena Raggi, Circuit Judge:

Defendant Owen Edwards was convicted in 2010 in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Robert N. Chatigny, Judge) of conspiring to traffic in cocaine and marijuana. He now appeals from a judgment of that court revoking his supervised release on the 2010 conviction and sentencing him to 24 months' incarceration based on four supervision violations: (1) traveling outside the supervision district without authorization; (2) failing to respond truthfully to his probation officer's inquiries; (3) associating without permission with a convicted felon; and (4) committing another crime while on supervision, specifically, conspiracy to traffic drugs and launder drug proceeds. For the first time on appeal, Edwards challenges the district court's jurisdiction to adjudicate violations (2) through (4), claiming that they were impermissibly charged after the scheduled expiration of his supervision term. See 18 U.S.C. § 3583(i) (stating circumstances that permit revocation proceedings after expiration). In any event, he challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support the fourth violation-the only one to which he did not plead guilty.

To resolve this appeal, we need not-and, therefore, do not-decide the outer limits of a court's jurisdiction to entertain violation charges that are filed after a timely warrant or summons extends jurisdiction, but also after supervision concludes. We conclude only that where, as here, post-supervision charges involve conduct related to the requisite timely charge and the defendant is afforded adequate notice and opportunity to be heard, the district court is empowered to consider the related violations and to base revocation thereon. Because we further conclude that Edwards's sufficiency challenge fails on the merits, we affirm the challenged revocation judgment.

I. Background

A. The Underlying Crime of Conviction

On September 2, 2010, Edwards pleaded guilty in the District of Connecticut to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C), 846. On November 18, 2010, the district court sentenced him to 24 months' imprisonment, to be followed by 36 months' supervised release. The 24-month prison sentence reflected a downward departure from the applicable 27-to-33-month Guidelines range, based on the district court's belief that Edwards's Criminal History Category of III "substantially over-represent[ed] the likelihood the defendant will commit other crimes." Gov't App'x 1. Edwards's betrayal of that trust underlies this appeal.

B. The Initial Violation Charge

Edwards's supervised release-which commenced on December 6, 2011, and was scheduled to conclude on December 4, 2014-was subject to various conditions, including, as relevant here, that he (1) not leave the supervision district without court or probation permission (Standard Condition 1);1 (2) truthfully answer all probation inquiries (Standard Condition 3); (3) not associate with convicted felons without probation permission (Standard Condition 9); and (4) not commit any federal, state, or local offense (Mandatory Condition 1). See id. at 3.

On June 17, 2014-approximately six months before the anticipated expiration of supervision-a warrant for Edwards's arrest was sought and obtained in the District of Connecticut based on his reported unauthorized travel to Hawthorne, California, on April 8, 2014, in violation of Standard Condition 1. The warrant petition reported that Edwards's presence in California was discovered in the course of a traffic stop, at which time he was found in possession of almost three-quarters of a million dollars, for which he gave conflicting explanations: [O]n April 8, 2014, the SD/NY was contacted by the Hawthorne California Police Department and advised [that] Edwards has been initially detained in that city during a traffic stop. Mr. Edwards did not have the prior authorization from . . . probation to be in California on that date. In summary, Mr. Edwards was operating a rental vehicle [that] he was not authorized to operate. Upon obtaining the assistance of a K9 unit, police discovered a black duffle bag in the front passenger side of the floor board, which contained approximately $700, 000. Mr. Edwards denied knowledge of the content of the bag and continues to maintain this position. This matter remains under investigation. Upon being interviewed by the probation officer, Mr. Edwards advised that he traveled to California during April 7, 2014 to April 14, 2014, for his birthday and intended to attend the "Coachella Music Festival." Mr. Edwards claimed that he went to California without permission of the probation officer as he believed that the probation officer would not have provided him with permission to travel out of district on such short notice.

Id. at 10. Edwards was arrested in New York on July 30, 2014, released on his own recognizance, and directed to appear in Connecticut for a violation hearing on September 9, 2014.

Before that appearance, on August 15, 2014, the U.S. Probation Office for the District of Connecticut (hereinafter "Probation") submitted to the court a report formally charging Edwards with violating Standard Condition 1, and providing further details as to the April 8, 2014 traffic stop and the events that followed: [W]hile Mr. Edwards was operating a vehicle bearing California license 8N58898, he was pulled over during a traffic stop. Upon interviewing Mr. Edwards he was temporarily detained by police once it was determined that he was on federal supervised release. It was reported that Mr. Edwards immediately invoked his [F]ifth Amendment right without being admonished of a Miranda [w]arning. Police searched Mr. Edwards and the vehicle and uncovered an Avon Car Rental agreement under the names of Robert Lefny and Escabi Martinez, with an address out of Miami, Florida. Police contacted Avon Car Rental and the company indicated that they had no record of Mr. Edwards being an authorized driver of the vehicle. Police called Robert Lefny, one of the noted vehicle renters, and he initially denied that he knew who Mr. Edwards was and then immediately disconnected his telephone connection with police.

At that point, police requested the assistance of a K9 unit as they believed that Mr. Edwards may have been involved in trafficking narcotics. The K9 subsequently located a black duffle bag in the front passenger side of the floor board which was an indication that the K9 was giving a response to the odor of narcotics. When police removed the duffle bag from the vehicle [it] was found to have contained $712, 741 in cash, which was wrapped in food saver type vacuum sealed packages. There were no narcotics located in the vehicle. Mr. Edwards indicated to police that he did not know what was contained in the duffle bag until police had opened it.

On April 24, 2014, [U.S. Probation Officer ("USPO") Michael F.] Wasmer interviewed Mr. Edwards at the probation office (SD/NY). With regard to the unauthorized travel out of the Southern District of New York to California during April 7, 2014 to April 14, 2014, Mr. Edwards claimed that he traveled to California without permission of the probation officer for his birthday and in order to attend the "Coachella Music Festival." Mr. Edwards claimed that he went to...

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