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September 23, 2009

Ninth Circuit upholds barring from San Francisco as a supervised release condition

SF bridge

A Ninth Circuit panel today has an interesting ruling upholding an unusual condition of supervised release in US v. Watson, No. 08-10385 (9th Cir. Sept. 24, 2009) (available here). Here is how it starts:

Deandre Watson, who pled guilty to carjacking pursuant to a plea agreement containing a waiver of the right to appeal, challenges a condition of his supervised release barring him from entering San Francisco without the prior approval of his probation officer. He argues that the district court did not provide the necessary notice before issuing this condition and that the condition itself violates his “constitutional rights to travel and move, to freedom of association, to intimate association with his family and related rights.”

A waiver of the right to appeal does not bar a defendant from challenging an illegal sentence. We conclude, however, that the disputed supervised release condition directing Watson to stay out of San Francisco during the term of his super vised release unless he obtains permission from his probation officer is not unlawful. It is reasonably tied to the court’s stated aims of rehabilitation and deterrence and is no more restrictive than reasonably necessary to serve those purposes. Nor do we find here any of the other circumstances that cause a waiver of appeal to be ineffective. The language of Watson’s plea agreement waiver encompasses this appeal and the waiver was knowingly and voluntarily made given the circumstances surrounding the agreement. We accordingly dismiss the appeal.

September 23, 2009 at 01:48 PM | Permalink


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