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United States v. Romig

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

July 20, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM CECIL ROMIG, Defendant.

          Jeffrey S. Paulsen, Assistant United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, for plaintiff.

          William Cecil Romig, pro se defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION TO AMEND CONDITIONS OF SUPERVISED RELEASE

          JOHN R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE

         After pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(b)(1)(A) and 846, William Cecil Romig was sentenced to 264 months in prison and ten years of supervised release. Romig's supervised release term included special conditions related to drug testing and association with gang members. Romig now brings a motion to modify those conditions pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(2) and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.1(c). The Court will deny Romig's motion because the special conditions are necessary to provide Romig future deterrence and correctional treatment, and are related to his offense, history, and characteristics.

         BACKGROUND

         On March 14, 2001, Romig was charged along with five codefendants in an 18-count Superseding Indictment. (Superseding Indictment, Mar. 14, 2001, Docket No. 36.) Romig pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, (see Plea Agreement, Oct. 30, 2001, Docket No. 225), and was sentenced to a 264-month term of imprisonment, (J. at 1-2, Apr. 16, 2002, Docket No. 276; Tr. at 10:5-7, May 14, 2003, Docket No. 318). In addition, Romig was sentenced to a ten-year term of supervised release, during which Romig is to “comply with state, federal, and local laws, comply with the rules and regulations of the probation office, [and] abide by the standard conditions of supervised release.” (J. at 3; Tr. at 12:12-17.) Two special conditions of supervised release were also imposed, which provide:

1) The defendant shall submit to periodic drug testing and participate in substance abuse treatment and aftercare as directed by the probation office.
2) The defendant shall not associate with any member, prospect, or associate of the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang, or any other gang.

(J. at 4; Tr. at 12:20-24.) Romig did not object to these conditions at the time of his sentencing and did not directly appeal his conviction or his sentence. He also did not object to these conditions when he later filed a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See United States v. Romig, Crim. No. 00-355, Civ. No. 03-2640, 2003 WL 22143730, at *1 (D. Minn. Aug. 18, 2003). In 2014, Romig brought a motion to modify the conditions of his supervised release pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(2) and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.1(c). Romig requested that the Court eliminate from the terms of his supervised release the special conditions related to drug testing and gang association. The Court denied Romig's motion without prejudice, holding that § 3583 was not a vehicle for legal or constitutional challenges to terms of supervised release, and, to the extent Romig's motion sought relief available under § 3583(e)(2), the motion was not ripe for adjudication. See United States v. Romig, Crim. No. 00-355, 2014 WL 1048390, at *2-3 (D. Minn. Mar. 18, 2014); aff'd, No. 14-2355 (8th Cir. Sept. 19, 2014). On February 20, 2018 (approximately two months before his April 11, 2018, release[1]), Romig filed the same motion to amend his conditions of supervised release. (Compare Mot., Feb. 20, 2018, Docket No. 409, with Mot., Nov. 8, 2013, Docket No. 357.)

         DISCUSSION

         I. SCOPE OF 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(2)

         District courts have the broad discretion to impose conditions of supervised release that “(1) [are] reasonably related to the sentencing factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a); (2) involve[ ] no greater deprivation of liberty than is reasonably necessary for the purposes set forth in § 3553(a); and (3) [are] consistent with any pertinent policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission.” United States v. Kelly, 625 F.3d 516, 519 (8th Cir. 2010) (quoting United States v. Bender, 566 F.3d 748, 751 (8th Cir. 2009)); see also 18 U.S.C. § 3583(d); U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual (“U.S.S.G.”) § 5D1.3(b). A district court may also modify, reduce, or enlarge those conditions of supervised release “at any time prior to the expiration of the period of supervised release.” United States v. Yankton, 168 F.3d 1096, 1098 n.6 (8th Cir. 1999); see also 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(2). “[W]hen considering whether to ‘modify, reduce, or enlarge the conditions of supervis[ed release],' a court is limited to considering the sentencing factors enumerated in § 3553(a), any applicable Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and applicable provisions for setting the initial conditions of supervised release.” United States v. Shipley, 825 F.Supp.2d 984, 988 (S.D. Iowa 2011) (quoting 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(2)).

         As noted, Romig makes the same arguments as he did in his 2014 motion. This Court already ruled that Romig “may challenge the illegality of conditions of supervised release only through a direct appeal, § 2255 . . ., or by bringing a motion to correct a sentence under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35.” Romig, 2014 WL 1048390 at *2. Thus, the Court will not consider whether Romig's special conditions of supervised release violate the terms of his plea agreement, were unsupported by the sentencing record, or constitute an unconstitutional restriction on his freedom of association because those challenges attack the legality or constitutionality of the conditions and are therefore not cognizable in a motion to modify brought under § 3583(e)(2).

         II. MODIFICATION PURSUANT TO 18 ...


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