United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S PRO SE MOTION
FOR EARLY TERMINATION OF SUPERVISED RELEASE (DKT. NO.
PAMELA PEPPER United States District Judge.
18, 2010, after she had pled guilty to one count of bank
robbery by force or violence, Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan of
the Northern District of Illinois sentenced defendant Mary
Cairo to sixty-three months in prison and three years of
supervised release. Dkt. No. 1. The defendant began her
supervised release term in February of 2015, and on May 26,
2016, District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller of the Eastern
District of Wisconsin entered an order transferring
jurisdiction of the defendant's supervised release to
this district. Id. Her supervised release term is
scheduled to expire on February 16, 2018. Dkt. No. 5 at 2.
March 8, 2017, the defendant filed this motion, asking the
court to terminate her supervised release early. Dkt. No. 3.
The motion indicated that the defendant now volunteers at her
church, has made amends with her children and husband of 43
years (who passed away in April of 2016), is taking
medication for her depression (she indicates that she was in
a “fugue state” at the time she committed this
offense in 2007), and took leadership roles in prison
programs when she was in custody. Id.
defendant's probation officer filed a memorandum,
indicating that he supported the defendant's motion for
early termination. Dkt. No. 5. The officer noted that the
defendant had had no violations of her release conditions;
that she had maintained residential and financial stability;
that she had submitted to and passed random urinalysis tests
throughout her supervision period; and that she had completed
and continued to undergo mental health counseling sessions.
Id. at 1-2. The probation department classifies her
as a low risk to reoffend. Id. at 2. The probation
officer attached to his report several letters from members
of her church and the local community, confirming her
involvement in the church and her volunteer work with a
women's center in Chicago. Dkt. No. 5-1.
April 7, 2017-ten months ahead of the defendant's
supervised release expiration date-the government filed an
objection to the motion. Dkt. No. 6. The government argued
that it was not enough for a defendant to behave herself, or
to follow the conditions of her supervised release, in order
to obtain early termination. Dkt. No. 6 at 2. The government
submits that the defendant failed to carry her burden of
proving that the court has reason to terminate her
supervision early. Id. at 2-3. Specifically, the
prosecutor points the court to the defendant's offense
conduct-she brought a gun into a bank, ordered people onto
the floor, fled the scene with $20, 000.00, and had to be
ordered by the arresting officer to drop the gun. Dkt. No. 6
at 2. The government agrees that the presentence report
confirms the defendant's assertion that she was in the
midst of a severe depression at the time she committed this
offense, and agrees that she has received, and continues to
receive, treatment. Id. at 2-3. But the prosecutor,
noting that the burden was on the defendant, contended that
the defendant's offense was very serious, that she had
less than a year left on her supervision term, and that the
depression which caused her involvement in the offense was
severe. Id. at 3.
18 U.S.C. §3583(e)(1), a district court may terminate a
defendant's supervised release after the defendant has
served at least one year if, “after considering the
factors set forth in section 3553(a)(1), (a)(2)(B),
(a)(2)(C), (a)(2)(D), (a)(4), (a)(5), (a)(6), and (a)(7),
” the court finds that early termination is
“warranted by the conduct of the defendant released and
in the interest of justice.” 18 U.S.C.
§3583(e)(1). Judge Lynn Adelman considered this
provision in United States v. O'Hara, Case No.
00-cr-170, 2011 WL 4356322 (E.D. Wis. Sept. 16, 2011), and
paraphrased it as containing three requirements:
(1) the defendant has served at least one year of
(2) the government is given notice and an opportunity to be
(3) termination is in the interest of justice based on the
pertinent § 3553(a) factors and the defendant's
United States v. O'Hara, No. 00-CR-170, 2011 WL
4356322, at *3 (E.D. Wis. Sept. 16, 2011) (citing United
States v. Medina, 17 F.Supp.2d 245, 245-46 (S.D.N.Y.
1998) and United States v. Lowe, 632 F.3d 996,
998-99 (7th Cir. 2011)). While noting that district courts
“possess wide discretion in making [the]
determination [whether to terminate supervised release early,
]” Judge Adelman cautioned that courts have held
“that the conduct of the defendant necessary to justify
early termination should include more than simply following
the rules of supervision; otherwise, every defendant who
avoided revocation would be eligible for early
termination.” O'Hara, 2011 WL 4356322, at
*3 (collecting cases). The defendant carries the burden of
proving that she has done more than just follow the rules.
Id., citing United States v. Hook, 471 F.3d
766, 771 (7th Cir. 2006). The district court need not make
explicit findings on each of the relevant §3553(a)
factors, but must give some indication that it considered
those factors. See Lowe, 632 F.3d at 998, citing
United States v. Carter, 408 F.3d 852, 854 (7th Cir.
2005); United States v. Hale, 107 F.3d 526, 530 (7th
Cir. 1997); and United States v. Nonahal, 338 F.3d
668, 671 (7th Cir. 2003).
defendant has been on supervised release for longer than one
year, and the court gave the government notice and the
opportunity to respond to the motion (which it has done). The
issue, then, is whether early termination is in the interest
of justice, based on the §3553(a) factors and the
defendant's own conduct.
first §3553(a) factor is the seriousness of the offense,
and there is no question that the defendant's offense was
serious. Her conduct in 2007 not only put the people in that
bank at risk for their safety and their lives, but likely
left many of them with lingering emotional scars. In the
federal system, armed bank robbery is among the most serious
of crimes for that very reason. That factor, then, does not
weigh in favor of early termination of release, as the
government has argued.
second §3553(a) factor is the defendant's personal
history and characteristics. The defendant and her probation
officer look to this factor in support of early termination.
The defendant proffers that she was suffering from a bout of
severe depression during the commission of her crime. Dkt.
No. 3 at 3. Thus, it is important for the court to ask
whether she has taken steps to address that depression. The
probation officer confirms the defendant's assertions
that she has taken her depression seriously, and has been
engaged in treatment for it. The government acknowledges this
fact. This is an indication to the court that she knows how
serious her offense was, and that she has put in real work to
address the source of her actions.
facet of the defendant's history and characteristics is
how she has chosen to spend her time on supervised release.
It is true that the probation officer's report shows that
she has had no violations, but it is also true that simply
following the conditions of release is not sufficient to
support early termination. The defendant has done more,
however, than simply abide by the conditions of her release.
Her deep involvement in her church-the Eucharist ministry,
her work with the prayer shawl program, her needlework for
those in need, her baking during the Lenten season-show that
she has chosen to spend her time on release in positive ways
that help others. While she was still under supervision in
the Northern District of Illinois, she volunteered at the
Women's Center of Greater Chicagoland one to two times a
week. Dkt. No. 5-1 at 4. Even while she was in custody, she
was involved in volunteer programming such as alter service
at prison mass, knitting projects, sponsoring confirmation
candidates, and participating on suicide watch. Such
positive, others-based activities go beyond simply behaving