Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Court Supervision as a Conviction

United States v. Christopher Jones, No. 05-4272 (May 23, 2006): Mr. Jones argued that he should have been eligible for safety-valve treatment, since his previous cases had resulted in court supervision. Having successfully completed the supervision, he was considered under Illinois law not to have a conviction. Reaffirming previous holdings, the Court held that his convictions were still convictions under federal law, despite their treatment under state law.

This case involved the effect of convictions on a mandatory minimum sentence. It would also seem to govern the calculation of criminal history points under the guidelines. Yet when counsel argues for a sentence below the guidelines (which was not an option for Mr. Jones' counsel), he or she can certainly suggest that the criminal history points overstate the criminal history, since the client has successfully completed the supervision.