7th Circuit: Statute citation not required to revoke supervised release

A South Bend man whose supervised release on a federal firearms conviction was revoked after he was accused of assaulting a woman wasn’t deprived due process, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

The panel affirmed the revocation of supervised release issued by Judge Robert L. Miller of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Lee pleaded guilty in September 2009 to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. When he was freed from prison in August 2013, a term of his supervised release was that he commit no other crimes.

Lee was arrested and charged with domestic battery and battery in April 2014, after his girlfriend told police and doctors at a hospital that Lee had hit her with a small baseball bat. The girlfriend recanted her earlier statements during a revocation hearing, but the court relied on her prior statements, revoking Lee’s suspended supervised release and imposing a four-year prison term.

“Lee now argues that he was denied due process under both the Fifth Amendment and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.1 because he did not receive adequate written notice of the precise crime that ultimately led to the revocation,” Chief Judge Diane Wood wrote for the panel in United States of America v. Robert L. Lee, 14-2010.

“Lee asks us to adopt a per se rule that only the citation to a specific statute will suffice to provide written notice of the alleged violation. Only the Ninth Circuit has gone this far. We are not persuaded that either the criminal rules or the Constitution requires this approach, and so we decline the invitation to abandon our own more flexible practice and join the Ninth Circuit.”


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