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United States v. Dean

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

October 10, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
JAYDAN DEAN, Defendant-Appellant

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas

          Before OWEN, Chief Judge, and JONES and SMITH, Circuit Judges.

          EDITH H. JONES, CIRCUIT JUDGE:

         Jaydan Dean appeals his sentence, arguing that the district court abused its discretion by imposing a search condition as a special condition of his supervised release. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Dean pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). The U.S. Probation Office created a Presentence Report (PSR) detailing Dean's criminal history. Based on his past convictions, the report calculated a criminal history category of VI and an offense level of 12. Consistent with the recommendations of the PSR and within the Guidelines' range, the district court sentenced him to 37 months of imprisonment and a three-year term of supervised release. In addition to the mandatory and standard conditions of supervision, the district court, again adopting the recommendation of the PSR, imposed the following special search condition:

The defendant shall submit his or her person, property, house, residence, vehicle, papers, computers (as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1030(e)(1)), other electronic communications or data storage devices or media, or office, to a search conducted by a United States probation officer. Failure to submit to a search may be grounds for revocation of release. The defendant shall warn any other occupants that the premises may be subject to searches pursuant to this condition. The probation officer may conduct a search under this condition only when reasonable suspicion exists that the defendant has violated a condition of supervision and that the areas to be searched contain evidence of this violation. Any search shall be conducted at a reasonable time and in a reasonable manner.

         The parties were given the PSR nearly two months before sentencing, but neither party filed an objection to the report. Dean's counsel confirmed that he had reviewed the report with Dean and had no objection to the report at the sentencing hearing, after which the district court adopted the report and imposed the search condition. Dean raised no objection when the court imposed the condition.

         Dean now appeals the special search condition.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(d), a district "court may order, as a further condition of supervised release, . . . any condition set forth as a discretionary condition of probation in [18 U.S.C. § 3563(b)] and any other condition it considers to be appropriate." Dean challenges the search condition on the grounds that it is not reasonably related to the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) factors, lacks a factual basis, and is not narrowly tailored to ensure the least deprivation of liberty necessary. He argues his claim should be reviewed for an abuse of discretion because he had no meaningful opportunity to object and, alternately, that he can meet the plain error standard if it applies. The Government counters that Dean's appeal should be reviewed for plain error, but under either standard, his claim is unavailing. We agree with the Government that Dean's appeal should be reviewed for plain error. Dean's challenge to the special condition of supervised release does not satisfy that standard.

         When the defendant objects at sentencing to a special condition of supervised release, this court reviews for an abuse of discretion. United States v. Woods, 547 F.3d 515, 517 (5th Cir. 2008) (per curiam). Absent an objection, "this court reviews for plain error only." United States v. Bishop, 603 F.3d 279, 280 (5th Cir. 2010).

         Dean does not dispute that he failed to raise an objection to the special condition during sentencing, but he claims he lacked a "meaningful opportunity to object." When a defendant has not been provided a meaningful opportunity to object, this Court reviews sentencing for an abuse of discretion. See United States v. Rivas-Estrada, 906 F.3d 346, 348-50 (5th Cir. 2018). Rivas-Estrada reasoned that the purpose behind the "opportunity to object" is "to give fair notice." Id. at 349. Dean had ample notice. The record shows that Dean received a copy of the PSR over a month before sentencing but filed no objection. At the sentencing hearing, the district court orally confirmed that Dean's attorney reviewed the report with him and asked if there were objections. None were raised. Then the court explicitly stated, "Additionally, the defendant shall submit to the search condition of the district." Still there was no objection. Because Dean had notice of the conditions and "an opportunity to contest [the] conditions at the sentencing hearing," his claim is reviewed for plain error. United States v. Rouland, 726 F.3d 728, 733-34 (5th Cir. 2013).

         Under the plain error standard, Dean "must show 1) an error; 2) that is clear or obvious 3) that affects substantial rights and 4) that seriously affects the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings." United States v. Huor, 852 F.3d 392, ...


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