United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Y. Aanstad, United States Attorney for Plaintiff.
Bilaal Muhammad Arafat, pro se.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
RICHARD NELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Sheikh Bilaal Muhammad Arafat's
pro se Motion to Correct Clerical Error in Amended Judgment
[Doc. No. 543] (“Def.'s Mot.”), brought
pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 36. Arafat
urges this Court to correct alleged errors in his sentence by
vacating two conditions of supervision: that he
“participate in a psychological or psychiatric
counseling or treatment program as approved by the probation
officer” and “refrain from excessive alcohol
use.” (See Def.'s Mot. at 4, 6.) Arafat
failed to object to these alleged errors at sentencing.
Rule of Criminal Procedure 26 states: “After giving any
notice it considers appropriate, the court may at any time
correct a clerical error in a judgment, order, or other part
of the record, or correct an error in the record arising from
oversight or omission.” Here, Arafat contends that the
error involved the conditions of his supervised release.
See Def.'s Mot. at 4; Sentencing Judgment [Doc.
No. 484] at 3-4.
district court has broad discretion in imposing conditions of
supervised release. See, e.g., United States v.
Schostag, 895 F.3d 1025, 1027 (8th Cir. 2018). The
conditions should be reasonably related to the factors listed
in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), which include “the nature
and circumstances of the offense and the history and
characteristics of the defendant” and whether the
defendant needs “educational or vocational training,
medical care, or other correctional treatment.”
See 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(1) and (2)(D);
United States v. Bender, 566 F.3d 748, 751 (8th Cir.
2009). A district court has “wide latitude in
weighing” these factors, United States v.
Wilkins, 909 F.3d 915, 917 (8th Cir. 2018) (quoting
United States v. Farmer, 647 F.3d 1175, 1180 (8th
Cir. 2011)), and should base the conditions on “an
individualized inquiry into the facts and circumstances
underlying a case.” See Wilkins, 909 F.3d at
918. However, “even in the absence of individualized
findings a special condition need not be vacated ‘if
the basis for the imposed condition can be discerned from the
record.'” United States v. Deatherage, 682
F.3d 755, 758 (8th Cir. 2012).
Court finds that neither of the conditions to which Arafat
objects were made in error. First, Arafat contends that the
special condition related to mental health counseling should
be vacated because there was no evidence suggesting such
treatment was needed and because it represents an improper
delegation of authority to the probation officer. (Def.'s
Mot. at 4-5.) At the sentencing hearing, the Court did make
an individualized finding that psychological counseling would
be beneficial to Arafat. See United States v.
Hines, 745 Fed.Appx. 256, 256 (8th Cir. 2018)
(“Before imposing mental health treatment, the court
‘must have reason to believe the defendant needs such
treatment.'”) (citing United States v.
Wiedower, 634 F.3d 490, 494 (8th Cir. 2011)); Sent. Tr.
at 32. The Court connected the seriousness and nature of
Arafat's offenses with his lack of remorse and decision
to repeat the same criminal activity that led to his first
prison sentence, and expressed hope that counseling might
help him accept responsibility and “turn [his] life
around.” See Sent. Tr. at 31-32. These facts
are therefore distinguishable from United States v.
Kent, which Arafat cites as an example of a district
court abusing its discretion in ordering mental health
treatment because it was unrelated to the offense. See
United States v. Kent, 209 F.3d 1073, 1077 (8th Cir.
2000) (vacating this condition where the problematic behavior
had “ceased independently” thirteen years before
the hearing); Def.'s Mot. at 3. In addition, unlike in
Kent, the presentence report here did suggest past
mental health issues. See Kent, 209 F.3d at 1077
(“Moreover, neither of the pre-sentence reports for
Kent's criminal convictions suggest any past or present
mental health problems”); PSR ¶¶ 358-61.
argument that this condition improperly delegates authority
to the probation officer is likewise meritless. This Court
exercises its power under the Constitution by imposing
conditions, which a probation officer implements and
monitors. See 18 U.S.C. 3603 (governing the scope of
a probation officer's authority); Kent, 209 F.3d
at 1078 (“[T]he imposition of punishment is a judicial
function reserved to the courts under Article III of the
United States Constitution.”). Here, the Court requires
Arafat to attend a mental health treatment program, which is
simply “approved by the probation officer.” Sent.
Judgment at 4. Arafat again cites Kent, which held
that the district court had “improperly delegated a
judicial function to Kent's probation officer when it
allowed the officer to determine whether Kent would undergo
counseling.” 209 F.3d at 1079; Def.'s Mot. at 4.
However, the Eighth Circuit explicitly limited its holding in
Kent to the facts of that case, where, at
sentencing, the district court judge had explicitly expressed
reluctance to interfere with the probation officer's
decisions. Id. at 1075, 1078. The facts here are
entirely distinguishable, as this Court did not improperly
delegate its authority to determine the appropriate
conditions of release.
Arafat argues that the standard condition prohibiting
“the excessive use of alcohol” is erroneous
because the term “excessive” is too vague and
because his convictions are not alcohol-related. Def.'s
Mot. at 5. However, this is a standard condition of
supervised release, related to concerns that emerged in the
presentencing report, in which Arafat self-reported using
excessive alcohol. See United States v. Simons, 614
F.3d 475, 479 (8th Cir. 2010) (citing U.S.S.G. §
5D1.3(c)(7)); PSR ¶¶ 362- 64. The Court emphasizes
that this condition is far from a complete ban on consuming
alcohol, and is reasonably related to the factors in 18
U.S.C. 3553(a). Accordingly, the Court upholds this
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
Defendant's Motion to Correct Clerical Error in Amended
Judgment [Doc. No. 543] is DENIED.
 The Court acknowledges that the
Seventh Circuit has modified a condition of release
prohibiting the “excessive use of alcohol” that
“adversely affects the defendant's employment,
” which was subject to a vagueness challenge. See
United States v. Sandidge, 863 F.3d 755, 757 (7th Cir.
2017) (modifying condition so as to prohibit the excessive
use of alcohol that “materially” adversely
affects the defendant's employment). The ...