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United States v. Peddie

United States District Court, District of Columbia

September 26, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DAMION ALEXANDER PEDDIE, Defendant.

         MEMORANDUM OPINION DECLINING TO ADOPT RECOMMENDATION; GRANTING THE GOVERNMENT’S MOTION TO REVIEW AND REVERSE; DENYING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO ADOPT THE MAGISTRATE COURT’S RULING; ORDERING REVOCATION OF SUPERVISED RELEASE RE DOCUMENT NOS. 38, 39, 40

          RUDOLPH CONTRERAS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Defendant Damion Alexander Peddie was brought before a magistrate judge for a Preliminary Revocation Hearing on his supervised release, which dates from a 2013 conviction in this Court. The magistrate judge recommends that no action be taken by this Court with respect to the alleged violation of supervised release because she found that the defendant was not on supervised release at the time of the alleged violation. Both parties filed motions, with the government asking the Court to review and reverse this recommendation and the defendant asking the Court to adopt it. Because the Court disagrees with the recommendation of the magistrate judge, it grants the government’s motion, denies the defendant’s, and orders that the defendant’s supervised release be revoked.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The facts of this case are not in dispute. On October 4, 2013, this Court sentenced Peddie to concurrent terms of forty-eight months of incarceration, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Oct. 4, 2013 Minute Entry; see also Judgment, ECF No. 27. He was released from the custody of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) on August 19, 2016, and was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that say day. On September 9, 2016, Peddie was removed by ICE to Jamaica.

         At some point thereafter, Peddie returned to the United States without obtaining legal permission. He was re-arrested in the District of Columbia on November 22, 2017, but was released without charges for reasons that are not entirely clear from the record. On December 22, 2017, the U.S. Probation Office petitioned this court for a warrant for Peddie’s arrest based on two alleged violations of his conditions of supervision. ECF No. 33. This Court approved the warrant. ECF No. 34. Peddie was not re-arrested until July 25, 2019.

         Peddie was brought before the Magistrate Judge for a Preliminary Revocation Hearing on his supervised release. Transcript of Probation Revocation Proceedings Before the Honorable Deborah A. Robinson, United States District Court Magistrate Judge (“Transcript”), ECF No. 38. The probation office withdrew the first of the two alleged violations. Id. at 4. The second alleged violation said that Peddie had violated the following conditions:

Defendant shall comply with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Immigration Process. If deported, defendant shall not re-enter the United States without legal authorization during the period of the supervision. Should defendant receive permission to return to the United States, he shall report to the U.S. Probation Office in the area where he intends to reside within 72 hours of his return.

U.S. Probation Office Petition, ECF No. 33 at 2. The defendant conceded the relevant facts, as stated above, regarding the timing of his removal and reentry without authorization and conceded that he had never reported to a U.S. Probation Office upon his return to the United States. Transcript at 4.

         After hearing arguments, the magistrate judge accepted the defendant’s argument. The Magistrate Court found that Peddie had never reported to a Probation Office to begin his supervised release and could not have done so within the first seventy-two hours of his release from BOP custody-since he was in ICE custody at that time. Id. at 20. This meant he was never “installed on supervised release” and was not on supervised release at the time of the alleged violation. Id. at 21. The magistrate judge therefore recommended that this Court take no action with respect to the second alleged violation. Id. The government seeks review and reversal of this ruling, ECF No. 39, and the defense seeks to have it adopted, ECF No. 40.

         III. ANALYSIS

         District courts must apply a de novo standard of review when considering objections to, or adoption of, a recommendation from a magistrate judge. See Gardill v. District of Columbia, 930 F.Supp.2d 35 (D.D.C. 2013); Estate of Heiser v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 466 F.Supp.2d 229, 255–56 (D.D.C. 2006) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B)); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). “[A] judge of the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” Heiser, 466 F.Supp.2d at 255–56; see also Roell v. Withrow, 538 U.S. 580 (2003) (noting that a district court is “free to do as it sees fit with [a] magistrate judge's recommendations” made under authority of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)).

         In this instance, the Court declines to adopt the magistrate’s recommendation because it goes against a plain reading of the statute and the weight of precedent throughout the Circuits. The defendant in this case suggested, and the magistrate judge agreed, that supervised release does not begin until the defendant is “installed on supervised release” by meeting with a Probation Officer or by receiving some sort of instruction about doing so. Transcript at 21. The federal statute that controls supervised release has no such requirement but says-with no qualification-that “[t]he term of supervised release commences on the day the person is released from imprisonment.” 18 ...


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