United States v. Dill, No. 15–1425.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtHAMILTON, Circuit Judge.
Citation799 F.3d 821
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff–Appellee, v. Michael DILL, Defendant–Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 15–1425.
Decision Date25 August 2015

799 F.3d 821

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff–Appellee
v.
Michael DILL, Defendant–Appellant.

No. 15–1425.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

Argued July 8, 2015.
Decided Aug. 25, 2015.


799 F.3d 822

William J. Lipscomb, Attorney, Office of the United States Attorney, Milwaukee, WI, for Plaintiff–Appellee.

Shelley M. Fite, Attorney, Federal Defender Services of Wisconsin, Inc., Madison, WI, Anderson M. Gansner, Attorney, Milwaukee, WI, for Defendant–Appellant.

Before POSNER, SYKES, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

Opinion

HAMILTON, Circuit Judge.

Michael Dill was placed on supervised release after serving 10 years in federal prison for bank robbery. Twice now he has been sent back to prison for committing multiple violations of conditions of release, this latest time for 14 months. In this appeal from the second revocation of supervised release, Dill contends that the district judge erred by having decided irrevocably before the revocation hearing that he would impose a new term of at least 12 months in prison—the term Dill received after the first revocation—without first considering the applicable sentencing guidelines, his arguments in mitigation, or the pertinent factors under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(3) and § 3553(a). We affirm. The judge had obviously prepared for the decision and had some strong views at the beginning of the hearing. We do

799 F.3d 823

not think, however, that the judge's preparation and thought crossed the line into an irrevocable commitment such that his mind was closed to what happened in the hearing.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

From December 2000 through March 2001, Dill and a confederate robbed several Chicago-area banks of over $21,000. Dill was caught and pled guilty in federal court to two counts of bank robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a). He was sentenced in the Northern District of Illinois to ten years in prison followed by a three-year term of supervised release.

Dill was released from prison in April 2012, and his supervision was transferred to the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Within a year, he had relapsed on drugs and violated four conditions of his supervised release: He missed drug tests and counseling appointments, tested positive for morphine and marijuana, traveled outside the judicial district without permission, and failed to comply with location-monitoring requirements.

The district court convened a revocation hearing in June 2013 but did not revoke Dill's supervised release, instead continuing the proceedings to give Dill “another chance” to comply with his conditions of supervised release. But the court also warned Dill that any future violation would result in a 15–month term of reimprisonment.

One month later Dill again tested positive, this time for opiates, and he admitted frequent use of heroin. The district court reconvened the revocation hearing and calculated a reimprisonment range of 8 to 14 months based on Dill's Grade C violations and Category VI criminal history. See U.S.S.G. § 7B1.4(a). Dill explained that he had started using drugs again after his release from prison as a way of coping with the deaths of his daughter and mother during his incarceration. But he emphasized his positive work history, stable residence, and ongoing support from his girlfriend, and he asked the court to impose a reimprisonment term of time served (36 days) plus a requirement of psychological counseling. The court, though, expressed skepticism that counseling—which had not worked before—would sufficiently deter Dill. Despite the earlier threat of a 15–month term, the court imposed a 12–month term of reimprisonment, along with an additional 18 months of supervised release. Dill did not appeal that decision.

Dill completed the new prison term. Just seven months after his release, Dill was before the district court again, having accrued five more violations of his supervised release. He had: missed eight random drug tests and two counseling sessions; tested positive for morphine, codeine, and cocaine; committed two traffic violations; failed to notify his probation officer after contact with law enforcement; and failed to make regular restitution payments. Dill's attorney submitted a letter asking the court to continue Dill's supervision, again emphasizing his positive employment history and stable romantic relationship and describing Dill's efforts at combatting his addiction. The court rejected Dill's request for continued supervision. The district judge acknowledged that “addiction is perhaps central to the problem here” but added:

most offenders, including those with addiction, at some point, particularly after having spent the length of time that [Dill] did in prison, find it in their heart and in their outlook to put this aspect of their life behind [them], and take advantage of all of the programming and counseling that's available.
799 F.3d 824

When offenders choose not to conform their conduct to the law, the court continued, “there is only one alternative, and that is—because we, as a society, cannot have individuals in our midst who are either in a workplace, or in a home environment, or worse yet behind the wheel [of] a vehicle, high on drugs.” So, the court concluded, there was “no other alternative for Michael Dill anymore, other than to send [him] back to prison.”

The district court next turned to the length of that term of reimprisonment. Though the court recognized that the policy statements in Chapter 7 of the Sentencing Guidelines called for 8 to 14 months, the court explained that Dill's term was “not going to be a year, and it's not going to be two years,” but instead would “probably” be “something in-between” because, the court reasoned, “when you violate the...

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9 practice notes
  • United States v. Ochoa-Montano, No. 16-1849
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • December 9, 2016
    ...the parties' written submissions so long as the judge is open to further argument during the sentencing hearing. United States v. Dill, 799 F.3d 821, 825 (7th Cir. 2015). And here the judge thoroughly addressed the points raised at sentencing. Ochoa-Montano does not contend otherwise. What ......
  • United States v. Reed, No. 16-3428
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • June 13, 2017
    ...her reasons for the sentence and to announce her final sentencing decision "in the [sentencing] hearing itself." United States v. Dill , 799 F.3d 821, 826 (7th Cir. 2015). In keeping with this rule, we often have advised that "[d]istrict judges must approach revocation and sentencing hearin......
  • United States v. Taylor, No. 18-1108
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • November 26, 2018
    ...United States v. Williams, 887 F.3d 326, 328 (7th Cir. 2018), it has done so as a matter of course. See, e.g., id.; United States v. Dill, 799 F.3d 821, 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2015) (affirming district judge's rejection of defense counsel's mitigating argument at revocation hearing). In William......
  • United States v. Hollins, No. 16-1442
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit
    • February 1, 2017
    ...hearings with an open mind and consider the evidence and arguments presented before imposing punishment." United States v. Dill , 799 F.3d 821, 825 (7th Cir. 2015). In the sentencing context we have held that a district court must address all of a defendant's principal arguments, as long as......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • United States v. Ochoa-Montano, No. 16-1849
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • December 9, 2016
    ...the parties' written submissions so long as the judge is open to further argument during the sentencing hearing. United States v. Dill, 799 F.3d 821, 825 (7th Cir. 2015). And here the judge thoroughly addressed the points raised at sentencing. Ochoa-Montano does not contend otherwise. What ......
  • United States v. Reed, No. 16-3428
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • June 13, 2017
    ...her reasons for the sentence and to announce her final sentencing decision "in the [sentencing] hearing itself." United States v. Dill , 799 F.3d 821, 826 (7th Cir. 2015). In keeping with this rule, we often have advised that "[d]istrict judges must approach revocation and sentencing hearin......
  • United States v. Taylor, No. 18-1108
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • November 26, 2018
    ...United States v. Williams, 887 F.3d 326, 328 (7th Cir. 2018), it has done so as a matter of course. See, e.g., id.; United States v. Dill, 799 F.3d 821, 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2015) (affirming district judge's rejection of defense counsel's mitigating argument at revocation hearing). In William......
  • United States v. Hollins, No. 16-1442
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit
    • February 1, 2017
    ...hearings with an open mind and consider the evidence and arguments presented before imposing punishment." United States v. Dill , 799 F.3d 821, 825 (7th Cir. 2015). In the sentencing context we have held that a district court must address all of a defendant's principal arguments, as long as......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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