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Judges vacate 2 conditions of supervised release

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Because two special conditions imposed on a man convicted of attempted extortion do not bear a reasonably direct relationship to his underlying crimes, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated those conditions.

Walbert Keith Farmer attempted to extort money from Walter Allen, an employee at Horseshoe Casino in Elizabeth. Farmer learned that Allen had used a company credit card without authorization and threatened Allen over the phone to tell the casino about his actions unless Allen paid him off.

The police busted up Farmer’s scheme, and he pleaded guilty to two counts for attempting to extort Allen and using interstate communications in the execution of his plot. The presentence report prepared did not disclose to the parties any information about the conditions of supervised release that the probation service intended to recommend to the District Court.

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt imposed those special conditions, which included that Farmer submit to the search of his person, vehicle, office, residence and property at the request of his probation officer, even without a warrant or reasonable suspicion; and a ban on self-employment.

In United States of America v. Walbert Keith Farmer, 13-3373, the 7th Circuit judges noted their concern that the parties weren’t privy to the conditions of the supervised release suggested by the probation officer prior to the hearing. The sentencing recommendation, which contained some of the conditions, was designated as confidential under a local rule. By keeping this information confidential, it does not allow a defendant to properly challenge the recommendation at the sentencing hearing.

“We recommend that sentencing judges follow the best practices outlined in Siegel when imposing conditions of supervised release, particularly the suggestion that judges “[r]equire the probation service to communicate its recommendations for conditions of supervised release to defense counsel at least two weeks before the sentencing hearing,” Judge John Tinder wrote.

The judges were “at a loss” as to how the broad search and seizure authority is connected to Farmer’s current offense or criminal history. And they found that the judge’s explanation for imposing the ban on self-employment did not provide the necessary nexus between Farmer’s underlying crime of attempted extortion and the self-employment ban.

They vacated these two conditions of supervised release and remanded for further proceedings.

 

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  1. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  2. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  3. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

  4. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  5. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

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