Mont v. United States, 060319 FEDSC, 17-8995

Docket Nº:17-8995
Judge Panel:THOMAS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and GlNSBURG, ALITO, and KAVANAUGH, JJ., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BREYER, Kagan, and GORSUCH, JJ., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting Justice Sotomayor, with whom Justice Breyer, Justice Kag...
Case Date:June 03, 2019
Court:United States Supreme Court

587 U.S. ____ (2019)




No. 17-8995

United States Supreme Court

June 3, 2019

Argued February 26, 2019


Petitioner Mont was released from federal prison in 2012 and began a 5-year term of supervised release that was scheduled to end on March 6, 2017. On June 1, 2016, he was arrested on state drug trafficking charges and has been in state custody since that time. In October 2016, Mont pleaded guilty to state charges. He then admitted in a filing in Federal District Court that he violated his supervised-release conditions by virtue of the new state convictions, and he requested a hearing. The District Court scheduled a hearing for November, but later rescheduled it several times to allow the state court to first sentence Mont. On March 21, 2017, Mont was sentenced to six years' imprisonment, and his roughly 10 months of pretrial custody were credited as time served. On March 30, the District Court issued a warrant for Mont and set a supervised-release hearing. Mont then challenged the District Court's jurisdiction on the ground that his supervised release had been set to expire on March 6. The District Court ruled that it had jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C. §3583(1) based on a summons it had issued in November 2016. It then revoked Mont's supervised release and ordered him to serve an additional 42 months' imprisonment to run consecutive to his state sentence. The Sixth Circuit affirmed on alternative grounds, holding that Mont's supervised-release period was tolled under §3624(e), which provides that a "term of supervised release does not run during any period in which the person is imprisoned in connection with a conviction for a . . . crime unless the imprisonment is for a period of less than 30 consecutive days." Because the roughly 10 months of pretrial custody was "in connection with [Mont's] conviction" and therefore tolled the period of supervised release, the court concluded that there was ample time left on Mont's term of supervised release when the March warrant issued.

Held: Pretrial detention later credited as time served for a new conviction is "imprison[ment] in connection with a conviction" and thus tolls the supervised-release term under §3624(e), even if the court must make the tolling calculation after learning whether the time will be credited. Pp. 6-13. (a)The text of §3624(e) compels this reading. First, dictionary definitions of the term "imprison," both now and at the time Congress created supervised release, may very well encompass pretrial detention, and Mont has not pressed any serious argument to the contrary. Second, the phrase "in connection with a conviction" encompasses a period of pretrial detention for which a defendant receives credit against the sentence ultimately imposed. "In connection with" can bear a "broad interpretation," Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. v. Dabit, 547 U.S. 71, 85, but the outer bounds need not be determined here, as pretrial incarceration is directly tied to the conviction when it is credited toward the new sentence. This reading is buttressed by the fact that Congress, like most States, instructs courts calculating a term of imprisonment to credit pretrial detention as time served on a subsequent conviction. See §3585(b)(1). Third, the text undeniably requires courts to retrospectively calculate whether a period of pretrial detention should toll a period of supervised release by including the 30-day minimum. The statute does not require courts to make a tolling determination as soon as a defendant is arrested on new charges or to continually reassess the tolling calculation throughout the pretrial-detention period. Its 30-day minimum-incarceration threshold contemplates the opposite. Pp. 6-8.

(b)The statutory context also supports this reading. First, §3624(e) provides that supervised release "runs concurrently" with "probation or supervised release or parole for another offense," but excludes periods of "imprison[ment]" served "in connection with a conviction." This juxtaposition reinforces the fact that prison time is "not interchangeable" with supervised release, United States v. Johnson, 529 U.S. 53, 59, and furthers the statutory design of "successfulfly] transition[ing]" a defendant from "prison to liberty," Johnson v. United States, 529 U.S. 694, 708-709. Second, it would be an exceedingly odd construction of the statute to give a defendant the windfall of satisfying a new sentence of imprisonment and an old sentence of supervised release with the same period of pretrial detention. Supervised release is a form of punishment prescribed along with a term of imprisonment as part of the same sentence. And Congress denies defendants credit for time served if the detention time has already "been credited against another sentence." §3585(b). Pp. 8-10.

(c)Mont's argument that the statute's present tense forbids any backward looking tolling analysis confuses the rule with a court's analysis of whether that rule was satisfied. The present-tense phrasing does not address whether a judge must be able to make a super-vised-release determination at any given time. Moreover, any uncertainty about whether supervised release is tolled matters little from either the court's or the defendant's perspective. As for the court, the defendant need not be supervised when he is held in custody; as for the defendant, there is nothing unfair about not knowing during pretrial detention whether he is also under supervised release. Pp. 10- 12.

723 Fed.Appx. 325, affirmed.

THOMAS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and GlNSBURG, ALITO, and KAVANAUGH, JJ., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BREYER, Kagan, and GORSUCH, JJ., joined.



This case requires the Court to decide whether a convicted criminal's period of supervised release is tolled-in effect, paused-during his pretrial detention for a new criminal offense. Specifically, the question is whether that pretrial detention qualifies as "imprison[ment] in connection with a conviction for a Federal, State, or local crime." 18 U.S.C. §3624(e). Given the text and statutory context of §3624(e), we conclude that if the court's later imposed sentence credits the period of pretrial detention as time served for the new offense, then the pretrial detention also tolls the supervised-release period.



In 2004, petitioner Jason Mont began distributing cocaine and crack cocaine in northern Ohio. After substantial drug sales to a confidential informant and a search of his home that uncovered handguns and $2, 700 in cash, a federal grand jury indicted Mont for multiple drug and firearm offenses. He later pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and to possessing a firearm and ammunition after having been convicted of a felony. See 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(1) (2000 ed.); 21 U.S.C. §§841(a)(1), 846 (2000 ed.).

The District Court sentenced Mont to 120 months' imprisonment, later reduced to 84 months, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release. Mont was released from federal prison on March 6, 2012, and his supervised release was "slated to end on March 6, 2017." 723 Fed.Appx. 325, 326 (CA6 2018); see 18 U.S.C. §3624(e) (a "term of supervised release commences on the day the person is released from imprisonment"). Among other standard conditions, Mont's supervised release required that he "not commit another federal, state, or local crime," "not illegally possess a controlled substance," and "refrain from any unlawful use of a controlled substance." Judgment in No. 4:05-cr-00229 (ND Ohio), Doc. 37, p. 111.

Mont did not succeed on supervised release. In March 2015, an Ohio grand jury charged him with two counts of marijuana trafficking in a sealed indictment. Mont was arrested and released on bond while awaiting trial for those charges. Things only got worse from there. In October 2015, Mont tested positive for cocaine and oxycodone during a routine drug test conducted as part of his supervised release. But Mont's probation officer did not immediately report these violations to the District Court; instead, the officer referred him for additional substance-abuse counseling. Mont proceeded to test positive in five more random drug tests over the next few months. He also used an "'unknown' liquid to try to pass two subsequent drug tests." 723 Fed. Appx., at 326. In January 2016, Mont's probation officer finally reported the supervised-release violations, including Mont's use of drugs and attempts to adulterate his urine samples. The violation report also informed the District Court about the pending state charges and the anticipated trial date of March 2016 in state court...

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