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United States v. Schuster

United States District Court, S.D. New York

July 26, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
MICHAEL SCHUSTER, Defendant.

          ORDER AND OPINION

          NELSON S. ROMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         By letter dated, July 11, 2018, Defendant Michael P. Schuster ("Defendant" or "Schuster") seeks to "appeal" this Court's Order and Opinion, dated July 5, 2018, denying his petition for early termination of court imposed supervised release following his conviction and sentence for conspiracy to distribute narcotics. Defendant's application will be construed as a motion for reconsideration. For the foregoing reasons, the application is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         Defendant, a former doctor, was convicted on January 16, 2014, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, in violation of 21 U, SC § 846, a Class C Felony. On April 9, 2014, the Hon. Julie A. Robinson sentenced Defendant to a term of sixty (60) months incarceration and three (3) years of post incarceration supervised release. On January 6, 2017, following the completion of his term of incarceration and during the pendency of his term of supervised, Defendant's supervision was transferred to U.S. District Court, S.D.N.Y.

         By letter dated October 3, 2017, Defendant requested early termination of his supervised release. (ECF No. 3.) In support of his application, Defendant asserted "[a]ll restitution and fines have been paid," during his period of incarceration "there were no infractions" and he completed several programs, post release he complied with all conditions of his supervision, has been involved in community volunteer positions and "has been working on the family farm." Defendant also indicated he was seeking to return to the medical profession. The Government opposed the application on the basis Defendant's mere compliance with the conditions of his supervise release did not rise "to the level of "'exceptionally good behavior, '" (ECF No. 4.) The Court denied Defendant's application due to movant's failure to provide "a basis for the granting of such extraordinary relief."(ECF No. 5.)

         By letter, dated October 11, 2017, Defendant sought reconsideration of this Court's denial of Defendant's application (ECF No. 6.) Defendant once again asserted that he has been compliant with the conditions of his supervised release, "that he has been working on the family farm since the time of his release," and that continued supervision posed an impediment to his return to the medical profession. In a memo endorsement, dated October 18, 2017, the Court adhered to its prior determination. (ECF No. 7.)

         By letter dated, June 22, 2018, Defendant once again sought early termination from supervision. (ECF No. 8) While in custody, Defendant participated in and completed a residential drug treatment program, an anger management program, a horticulture program, parenting course and committed no disciplinary infractions. Defendant asserted he complied with the terms of his supervision, has not been cited for any infraction, has been active as a volunteer in the community, has suffered some financial loss on his farms, located in South America, due to his inability to remain on the premises for extended periods, and is overly burdened tending to his elderly mother and ailing wife. Lastly, Defendant stated that in April 2017 he was deemed disabled, which prevented him from seeking meaningful employment. By Opinion and Order ("Order"), dated July 5, 2018, this Court denied Defendant's application. (ECF No. 9.).

         By letter, dated July 11, 2018, seeks to "appeal" this Court's Order predominantly on the basis the Court misstated the facts. (ECF No. 10.) Defendant asserts that he is "not working 'on the small family farm, '" is permanently disabled and unable to work or return to the medical profession, his volunteer work has been misrepresented and is more that being "civilly active," his travel restrictions pose more than a mere inconvenience, he no longer poses a risk to the community, and the subsequent disability of his wife could not have been anticipated at the time of his sentence.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Motions for reconsideration are governed by Local Criminal Rule 49. Rule 49.1(d) provides, in relevant part, that a motion for reconsideration or reargument must be filed and served within fourteen (14) days of the Court's opinion and order which movant seeks review of, and said application mus be accompanied by a memorandum setting forth concisely the matters or controlling decisions which the Court purportedly "overlooked."Generally, a motion for reconsideration will be denied unless the moving party can point to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked which would reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court. Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995) citing Schonberger v. Serchuk, 742 F.Supp. 108, 119 (S.D.N.Y.1990); see also Adams v. United Stales, 686 F.Supp. 417, 418 (S.D.N.Y. 1988). A motion for reconsideration may not be used as a means to relitigate issues already decided by the Court, but rather must demonstrate that "the Court overlooked controlling decisions or factual matters that were put before it on the underlying motion." Eisemann v. Greene, 204 F.3d 393, 395 n. 2 (2d Cir.2000) (per curiam) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). "The major grounds justifying reconsideration are 'an intervening change in controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice.'" Cordero v. Astrue, 574 F.Supp.2d 373, 379-80 (S.D.N.Y.2008) quoting Virgin Atl. Airways. Ltd. v. Nat'l Mediation Bd, 956 F.2d 1245, 1255 (2d Cir. 1992) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

         Supervised release involves a term of community supervision, following a period of incarceration, with a set of conditions tailored to serve the general goals of sentencing including punishment and rehabilitation. See 18 U.S.C. § 3624(e). Supervised release serves to ease the defendant's transition into the community after the service of a term of incarceration, and is "rehabilitative," such that it attempts to provide services when appropriate. See United States v. Johnson, 529 U.S. 53, 59 (2000). Non-compliance with the terms of supervised release may lead to re-incarceration. See 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(3).

         Modifications or revocation of a term of supervised release is governed by 18 U.S, C. § 3583(e). The granting of such a request is an extraordinary remedy. See United States v. Lussier, 104 F.3d 32, 36 (2d Cir. 1997). When reviewing a defendant's petition for early termination of supervised release, the court is required to first consider "the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. §§ 3553(a)(1), (a)(2)(B), (a)(2)(C), (a)(2)(D), (a)(4), (a)(5), (a)(6), and (a)(7)." 18 U.S.C. §3583(e). Such factors address "general punishment issues such as deterrence, public safety, rehabilitation, proportionality, and consistency." Lussier, 104 F.3d at 35. After due consideration of all relevant statutory factors, such determination is within the sound discretion of the court. United States v. Bastien, 111 F.Supp.3d 315, 323 (E.D.N.Y. 2015).

         A court may terminate a term of supervised release if satisfied that "such action is warranted by the conduct of the defendant released and the interest of justice." 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(1); United States v. Harris,689 F.Supp.2d 692, 694 (S.D.N.Y.2010). Early termination of supervised release has been deemed appropriate to "account for new or unforeseen circumstances" not contemplated at time of sentencing. See Lussier, 104 F.3d at 36; United States v. Rasco, No. 88 Cr. 817, 2000 WL 45438, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 18, 2000); United States v. Monteperto, No. 01 Cr. 56, 2007 WL 914545, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 22, 2007) (internal citation omitted). A mere inconvenience does not rise to the level of new or unforeseen circumstances that would warrant early termination. See United States v. Black, No. 10 Cr. 303-A, 2013 WL 2527371, at *3 (W.D.N.Y. June 10, 2013). Moreover, utter compliance with the terms of supervised release does not constitute "extraordinary circumstance" but what is expected of a formerly incarcerated individual who required carefully tailed conditions and services to reduce the risk of and recurrence of future crime. See, Bastien, 111 ...


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