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7th Circuit affirms sentence, vacates release conditions

April 21, 2015
A Gary felon who tried to force a woman at gunpoint to have sex with him was not improperly sentenced to a federal term of 92 months in prison on top of his state court conviction for pointing a weapon, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
 
Kenneth Sandidge pleaded guilty to a single count of felon in possession of a firearm in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. His sentence was calculated under guidelines that enhanced his conviction four levels because possession of the weapon was in connection with another felony. Sandidge also appealed denial of a three-level reduction he sought for accepting responsibility. The 7th Circuit affirmed those District Court rulings. 
 
The panel, though, vacated uniform conditions of supervised release to be imposed after Sandidge serves his time, in accord with the line of cases beginning with United States v. Siegel, 753 F.3d 705 (7th Cir. 2014). The 7th Circuit now requires remand to vacate standard conditions of supervised release that Judge Michael S. Kanne wrote are now deemed fatally vague.
 
Those requirements include supporting dependents and meeting other family responsibilities; notifying probation officers at least 10 days before any change of employment; not frequenting places where controlled substances are illegally sold or used; and allowing a probation officer to visit at any time.
 
 “In sum, the conditions of supervised release must be imposed to fit the particular circumstances of the defendant being sentenced,” Kanne wrote in United States of America v. Kenneth Sandidge, 14-1492.
 
The panel noted that the Northern District has since rescinded a general order that required imposition of the standard conditions of supervised releases. The new order states future conditions must “be based on an individualized determination of what is appropriate and necessary for a given defendant and his circumstance.”
 
“We commend the Northern District of Indiana for this proactive approach to its supervised release procedures,” Kanne wrote.
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