Submitted February 13, 2015.
Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas - Texarkana.
For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Allison Waldrip Bragg, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR; Candace L. Taylor, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Arkansas, Fort Smith, AR.
For Edwin James, Defendant - Appellant: Bruce Eddy, Federal Public Defender, Angela Lorene Pitts, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Fayetteville, AR.
Edwin James, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, De Queen, AR.
Before RILEY, Chief Judge, LOKEN and SMITH, Circuit Judges.
SMITH, Circuit Judge.
Edwin James appeals his sentence of lifetime supervised release and certain conditions of supervised release imposed by the district court after James pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex offender, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250, as is required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), 42 U.S.C. § § 16901-16991. We affirm in part and reverse in part.
In 1979, James pleaded guilty in Washington state to one count of statutory rape in the first degree for having sexual intercourse with a four-year-old girl. Soon after his conviction, James was declared to be a sexual psychopath. The court sentenced him to a suspended sentence of twenty years at a psychiatric hospital contingent on his completion of a sexual psychopathy program. During his treatment at the hospital, James admitted to hospital staff that he sexually abused three of his children and his nephews on several occasions. The treatment also elicited a confession from James that he sexually abused a six-year-old girl when he was seventeen years old, and that he sexually abused a 12- or 13-year-old girl when he was in his twenties. Hospital staff also believed that James's dependence on alcohol exacerbated his deviance and " aggravate[d] his potential for acting out in a predatory fashion."
In 1985, James decided to leave the sexual psychopathy program short of completion because of a domestic dispute with his wife. Hospital staff strongly warned against James leaving the program because they did not believe James had overcome his sexual deviance. In a letter to the court, hospital staff called attention to " [h]is deviousness, attempts to shift accountability and to manipulate others" even after several years of treatment. After James left the program, the court revoked his suspended sentence and sentenced James to prison. James was paroled in 1988. Soon after his release, James began a sexual relationship with Linda Hance, a mentally handicapped woman. James and Hance share a child together who was born in 1993. Additionally, James was convicted twice in California for failing to register as a sex offender in 1995.
James and his family moved to De Queen, Arkansas in early 2013. James last registered as a sex offender on May 17, 2012, in Sacramento, California, where he was then living. Coordination between law enforcement in Sacramento and De Queen lead to James's location and arrest in October 2013. James was indicted on one count of failing to register under SORNA, to which he pleaded guilty.
The district court sentenced James to 15 months' imprisonment and a lifetime term of supervised release. Upon James's objection to lifetime supervised release, the court stated the following:
18 United States Code 3[583(k)] states, the authorized term of supervised release under section 2250 is, any term of years not less than 5 or life. Guidelines [§ ] 5D1.2[(b)(2)] . . . says, not withstanding or in spite of [section 5D1.2(a)(1)-(3),] if [the] offense is a sex offense the term is then five years to life. Now, [James's counsel] explains that failure to ...