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United States v. Phillips

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

May 5, 2015

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Nakia Phillips, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted January 12, 2015.

Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Tracy Berry, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri, Saint Louis, MO.

For Nakia Phillips, Defendant - Appellant: Lucille Gardner Liggett, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Saint Louis, MO.

Nakia Phillips, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Terre Haute, IN.

Before SMITH, BENTON, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 283

BENTON, Circuit Judge.

In 2001, Nakia Mack Phillips pled guilty to statutory rape. In 2012, he failed to register as a sex offender and was sentenced to 24 months' imprisonment and 10 years' supervised release. In 2014, two

Page 284

months into his release, the Probation Office moved to revoke supervision. Phillips admitted violating release conditions, including unsupervised contact with minors. The court sentenced him to 24 months' imprisonment and supervision for life. As a special release condition, Phillips cannot " possess or use . . . a computer, . . . gaming equipment, cellular devices, or any other device with access to any 'on line computer services,' or subscribe to or use any Internet service, . . . without the written approval of the probation office." Phillips appeals the lifetime supervision and the special condition. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms the lifetime supervision, vacates the special condition, and remands.

This court reviews revocation sentences for abuse of discretion. United States v. Richey, 758 F.3d 999, 1001 (8th Cir. 2014). " A district court abuses its discretion and imposes an unreasonable sentence when it fails to consider a relevant and significant factor, gives significant weight to an irrelevant or improper factor, or considers the appropriate factors but commits a clear error of judgment in weighing those factors." United States v. Wiedower, 634 F.3d 490, 493 (8th Cir. 2011). See 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) (sentencing factors).

Phillips challenges the substantive reasonableness of lifetime supervision. The district court said it " considered all of the 3553(a) factors." Acknowledging that lifetime supervision " is a huge burden," the court noted that Phillips is " a danger, and . . . risk to the community" and he violated his release " after such a short period." The Guidelines range for supervised release was five years to life. " If the district court imposes a within-Guidelines sentence, this court presumes the sentence is reasonable, and [Phillips] bears the burden to rebut the presumption." United States v. Manning, 738 F.3d 937, 947 (8th Cir. 2014). On appeal, Phillips makes no legal argument rebutting the presumptive reasonableness of lifetime supervision. The sentence is no abuse of discretion.

This court reviews terms and conditions of supervised release for abuse of discretion. United States v. Mefford, 711 F.3d 923, 926 (8th Cir. 2013). The discretion to impose special conditions is limited by 18 U.S.C. § 3583(d). United States v. Crume, 422 F.3d 728, 732 (8th Cir. 2005). " Under § 3583(d), a district court may impose special conditions of supervised release if the conditions are reasonably related to the sentencing factors set forth in § 3553(a), involve no greater deprivation of liberty than is reasonably necessary for the purposes set forth in § 3553(a), and are consistent with any pertinent policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission." United States v. Morais, 670 F.3d 889, 895 (8th Cir. 2012). " When crafting a special condition of supervised release, the district court must make an individualized inquiry into the facts and circumstances underlying a case and make sufficient findings on the record so as to ensure that the special condition satisfies the statutory ...


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