Monday, February 12, 2007

Drug Treatment as a Condition of Supervised Release

United States v. Jose A. Tejeda, No. 06-1492 (February 7, 2007): The judge required as a condition of supervised release that Mr. Tejeda participate in a drug program at the direction of the probation officer. This sentence was illegal, since it gave too much discretion to the probation officer, but counsel did not object.

The Court made clear that improper delegation to the probation officer would not always constitute plain error, although it suggested that it was not backing away from other cases in which it has ruled that improper delegation as to restitution is always plain error. It found no plain error in the drug treatment condition. In part it relied on a defendant’s ability to seek modification of the terms of supervised release if the need were to arise. This need could arise only after Mr. Tejeda had completed a lenghty prison sentence.