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UNITED STATES v. BALOGUN

August 4, 1997

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, against BENJAMIN BALOGUN, Defendant.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GLEESON

 JOHN GLEESON, United States District Judge:

 Defendant Benjamin Balogun was sentenced on July 18, 1997, for importing heroin into the United States. His sentence includes a three-year period of supervised release which will be suspended upon his exclusion from the United States and resumed if and when Balogun re-enters the United States. The relevant provision of the judgment reads as follows:

 
The term of supervised release will commence, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3624(e), on the day the defendant is released from prison. At the conclusion of his prison term, defendant is to be delivered to the INS to be excluded pursuant to the stipulated order of exclusion. The term of supervised release shall be suspended on the day the defendant is excluded. It will resume on the day he re-enters the United States; defendant must report to a United States Probation Officer within 48 hours of his re-entry.

 This memorandum and order sets forth the reasons for this aspect of the defendant's sentence.

 FACTS

 Benjamin Balogun was born in London and maintains United Kingdom citizenship, but he is a resident of Nigeria, where he has spent the last several years living with his mother and brother. Balogun entered the United States on March 17, 1997, aboard a flight from Uganda. A routine customs examination, which included an x-ray examination of his person, revealed that Balogun had foreign bodies in his intestinal tract. The foreign bodies were 45 balloons containing approximately 385 grams of heroin. On May 1, 1997, Balogun pled guilty to the charge of importing heroin into the United States, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 952(a) and 960(b)(3). His total offense level under the United States Sentencing Guidelines is 17, resulting in a range of imprisonment of 24-30 months.

 In his plea agreement, defendant agreed to stipulate to an order of exclusion which will result in his immediate exclusion and deportation to England upon the completion of his jail term. In exchange, the Government, pursuant to a policy it follows in numerous narcotics-related prosecutions of aliens in this district, agreed to recommend a one-level downward departure to reward Balogun for relieving the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the administrative burdens associated with the exclusion and deportation of convicted narcotics traffickers.

 At sentencing, I granted the parties' joint request for this one-level downward departure. Balogun was sentenced to a 21-month jail term, to be followed by the three-year term of supervised release that is the subject of this opinion.

 Prior to the imposition of sentence, I notified the government and counsel for Balogun of my intention to consider suspending the supervised release term upon Balogun's exclusion, and invited argument on the subject. Balogun opposed any such suspension in an oral presentation at sentencing, raising some of the concerns addressed below.

 DISCUSSION

 A. The Appropriateness Of The Suspension Of Supervised Release

 Supervised release protects the public from convicted felons and assists those individuals in readjusting to society and learning how to live a life free of criminal activity. United States v. Crea, 968 F. Supp. 826, 1997 WL 359030, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. 1997).

 
Supervised release is intended to impose reasonable restrictions on the Defendant's liberty in light of the Defendant's past criminal behavior, to provide the much-needed guidance of a probation officer, and to discourage activity which may lead to further crimes. Supervised release requires a defendant to alter his or her behavior, but compared to imprisonment, ...

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