United States v. Brooks, 050218 FED2, 16-4063-cr

Docket Nº:16-4063-cr
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM.
Party Name:United States of America, Appellee, v. Jamaal Brooks, also known as Marley, Defendant-Appellant.
Attorney:Timothy V. Capozzi, Sarah Kathleen Eddy, Anna Skotko, Assistant United States Attorneys, for Geoffrey S. Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, New York, New York, for Appellee. Kafahni Nkrumah, Nkrumah Law PLLC, New York, New York, for Defendant-Appellant.
Judge Panel:Before: Parker, Lynch, and Chin, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:May 02, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
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United States of America, Appellee,

v.

Jamaal Brooks, also known as Marley, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 16-4063-cr

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

May 2, 2018

          Submitted: December 13, 2017

          On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

         Appeal from a judgment of revocation of supervised release of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Kaplan, J.), sentencing defendant-appellant, upon his guilty plea, to one year in prison followed by a life term of supervised release. Defendant-appellant contends that his lifetime sentence of supervised release is substantively and procedurally unreasonable.

          Timothy V. Capozzi, Sarah Kathleen Eddy, Anna Skotko, Assistant United States Attorneys, for Geoffrey S. Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, New York, New York, for Appellee.

          Kafahni Nkrumah, Nkrumah Law PLLC, New York, New York, for Defendant-Appellant.

          Before: Parker, Lynch, and Chin, Circuit Judges.

          PER CURIAM.

         In this case, defendant-appellant Jamaal Brooks pleaded guilty to distributing and possessing with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin. He was sentenced to 30 months' imprisonment and three years' supervised release.

         After he completed his prison sentence and began serving his term of supervised release, Brooks repeatedly tested positive for drugs and failed to report for scheduled drug testing. He eventually pleaded guilty to violating the terms of his supervised release and was sentenced to one year in prison followed by a life term of supervised release.

         Brooks now appeals, challenging the district court's imposition of lifetime supervised release as substantively and procedurally unreasonable. For the reasons set forth below, we vacate the sentence in part and remand for further proceedings.

         BACKGROUND

         A. Original Offense

         On June 3, 2013, Brooks pleaded guilty to distributing and possessing with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 812, 841(a)(1), and 18 U.S.C. § 2, a Class C felony. Brooks faced a statutory maximum of 20 years' imprisonment and a mandatory minimum of three years' supervised release. 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C).

         Brooks was sentenced on January 16, 2014. He had a Total Offense Level of 13 and criminal history category of IV. In the presentence report (''PSR''), the Probation Office calculated a Guidelines range of imprisonment of 24 to 30 months, and recommended that Brooks receive a Guidelines sentence of 30 months' imprisonment. The Probation Office also recommended that Brooks receive three years' supervised release.

         The district court sentenced Brooks to 30 months' imprisonment and three years' supervised release. Judgment was entered February 20, 2014.

         B. Violations of Supervised Release

         Brooks was discharged from custody on January 24, 2015. He began to test positive for marijuana approximately two weeks later. After three positive test results, the Probation Office referred Brooks to an outpatient drug treatment program. On May 13, 2015, however, Brooks was arrested and charged in state court with possessing marijuana and a scale bearing cocaine residue. On July 8, 2015, he was arrested again and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

         On June 29, 2016, the Probation Office filed a violation report with the district court alleging that Brooks had violated the terms of his supervised release on at least ten occasions. Following Brooks's arraignment on July 19, 2016, the district court granted adjournments at defense counsel's request, in part to allow for the resolution of the state case underlying certain specifications, and also to provide Brooks with additional time to participate in treatment for his drug addiction.

         On October 19, 2016, Brooks pleaded guilty to three of ten specifications of Grade C violations of the terms of his supervised release


Specifications 5, 6, and 7
which consisted of the use of a controlled substance, marijuana, on 14 specified dates; the use of a controlled substance, cocaine, on one specified date; and the failure to report for scheduled drug testing on six specified dates.

         At the final revocation hearing, defense counsel noted Brooks's "serious drug problem" as a "huge underlying factor and contributing factor" to his repeated violations of supervised release, for which counsel acknowledged Brooks still needed "some assistance." App. 19-20.

         Upon revocation, Brooks faced a maximum statutory sentence of two years' imprisonment. See 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(3). Although Brooks's original offense was subject to a Guidelines range, his revocation sentence was not. See U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual, Ch. 7, Pt. A. The Guidelines policy statements for revocation, however, recommended a range of 6 to 12 months' imprisonment for defendants like Brooks with a criminal history category of IV and Grade C violations of supervised release. U.S.S.G. § 7B1.4(a) (2012). As for an additional term of supervised release, the violation report explained that: Pursuant to 18 USC 3583(h), if a term of supervised release is revoked and the term of imprisonment is imposed, supervised release not to exceed life can be reimposed as authorized under the original offense, 21 USC 846, 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(C), less any term of imprisonment that was imposed upon revocation of supervised release.

Violation Report at 6.

         The Probation Office recommended a revocation sentence of 12 months' imprisonment, but did not recommend a specific term of supervised release. At sentencing, the Government asked the court to impose a "guidelines range sentence in the upper end" as "appropriate and no more than necessary." App. 25. The Government did not request a specific term of supervised release.

         On November 10...

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