Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Mont v. United States

United States Supreme Court

June 3, 2019

JASON J. MONT, PETITIONER
v.
UNITED STATES

          Argued February 26, 2019

          CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT

         Petitioner Mont was released from federal prison in 2012 and began a 5-year term of supervised release that was scheduled to end on March 6, 2017. On June 1, 2016, he was arrested on state drug trafficking charges and has been in state custody since that time. In October 2016, Mont pleaded guilty to state charges. He then admitted in a filing in Federal District Court that he violated his supervised-release conditions by virtue of the new state convictions, and he requested a hearing. The District Court scheduled a hearing for November, but later rescheduled it several times to allow the state court to first sentence Mont. On March 21, 2017, Mont was sentenced to six years' imprisonment, and his roughly 10 months of pretrial custody were credited as time served. On March 30, the District Court issued a warrant for Mont and set a supervised-release hearing. Mont then challenged the District Court's jurisdiction on the ground that his supervised release had been set to expire on March 6. The District Court ruled that it had jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C. §3583(1) based on a summons it had issued in November 2016. It then revoked Mont's supervised release and ordered him to serve an additional 42 months' imprisonment to run consecutive to his state sentence. The Sixth Circuit affirmed on alternative grounds, holding that Mont's supervised-release period was tolled under §3624(e), which provides that a "term of supervised release does not run during any period in which the person is imprisoned in connection with a conviction for a . . . crime unless the imprisonment is for a period of less than 30 consecutive days." Because the roughly 10 months of pretrial custody was "in connection with [Mont's] conviction" and therefore tolled the period of supervised release, the court concluded that there was ample time left on Mont's term of supervised release when the March warrant issued.

         Held: Pretrial detention later credited as time served for a new conviction is "imprison[ment] in connection with a conviction" and thus tolls the supervised-release term under §3624(e), even if the court must make the tolling calculation after learning whether the time will be credited. Pp. 6-13.

(a)The text of §3624(e) compels this reading. First, dictionary definitions of the term "imprison," both now and at the time Congress created supervised release, may very well encompass pretrial detention, and Mont has not pressed any serious argument to the contrary. Second, the phrase "in connection with a conviction" encompasses a period of pretrial detention for which a defendant receives credit against the sentence ultimately imposed. "In connection with" can bear a "broad interpretation," Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. v. Dabit, 547 U.S. 71, 85, but the outer bounds need not be determined here, as pretrial incarceration is directly tied to the conviction when it is credited toward the new sentence. This reading is buttressed by the fact that Congress, like most States, instructs courts calculating a term of imprisonment to credit pretrial detention as time served on a subsequent conviction. See §3585(b)(1). Third, the text undeniably requires courts to retrospectively calculate whether a period of pretrial detention should toll a period of supervised release by including the 30-day minimum. The statute does not require courts to make a tolling determination as soon as a defendant is arrested on new charges or to continually reassess the tolling calculation throughout the pretrial-detention period. Its 30-day minimum-incarceration threshold contemplates the opposite. Pp. 6-8.
(b)The statutory context also supports this reading. First, §3624(e) provides that supervised release "runs concurrently" with "probation or supervised release or parole for another offense," but excludes periods of "imprison[ment]" served "in connection with a conviction." This juxtaposition reinforces the fact that prison time is "not interchangeable" with supervised release, United States v. Johnson, 529 U.S. 53, 59, and furthers the statutory design of "successfulfly] transition[ing]" a defendant from "prison to liberty," Johnson v. United States, 529 U.S. 694, 708-709. Second, it would be an exceedingly odd construction of the statute to give a defendant the windfall of satisfying a new sentence of imprisonment and an old sentence of supervised release with the same period of pretrial detention. Supervised release is a form of punishment prescribed along with a term of imprisonment as part of the same sentence. And Congress denies defendants credit for time served if the detention time has already "been credited against another sentence." §3585(b). Pp. 8-10.
(c)Mont's argument that the statute's present tense forbids any backward looking tolling analysis confuses the rule with a court's analysis of whether that rule was satisfied. The present-tense phrasing does not address whether a judge must be able to make a super-vised-release determination at any given time. Moreover, any uncertainty about whether supervised release is tolled matters little from either the court's or the defendant's perspective. As for the court, the defendant need not be supervised when he is held in custody; as for the defendant, there is nothing unfair about not knowing during pretrial detention whether he is also under supervised release. Pp. 10- 12.

723 Fed.Appx. 325, affirmed.

          THOMAS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and GlNSBURG, ALITO, and KAVANAUGH, JJ., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BREYER, Kagan, and GORSUCH, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          THOMAS JUSTICE

         This case requires the Court to decide whether a convicted criminal's period of supervised release is tolled-in effect, paused-during his pretrial detention for a new criminal offense. Specifically, the question is whether that pretrial detention qualifies as "imprison[ment] in connection with a conviction for a Federal, State, or local crime." 18 U.S.C. §3624(e). Given the text and statutory context of §3624(e), we conclude that if the court's later imposed sentence credits the period of pretrial detention as time served for the new offense, then the pretrial detention also tolls the supervised-release period.

         I

         A

         In 2004, petitioner Jason Mont began distributing cocaine and crack cocaine in northern Ohio. After substantial drug sales to a confidential informant and a search of his home that uncovered handguns and $2, 700 in cash, a federal grand jury indicted Mont for multiple drug and firearm offenses. He later pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and to possessing a firearm and ammunition after having been convicted of a felony. See 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(1) (2000 ed.); 21 U.S.C. §§841(a)(1), 846 (2000 ed.).

         The District Court sentenced Mont to 120 months' imprisonment, later reduced to 84 months, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release. Mont was released from federal prison on March 6, 2012, and his supervised release was "slated to end on March 6, 2017." 723 Fed.Appx. 325, 326 (CA6 2018); see 18 U.S.C. §3624(e) (a "term of supervised release commences on the day the person is released from imprisonment"). Among other standard conditions, Mont's supervised release required that he "not commit another federal, state, or local crime," "not illegally possess a controlled substance," and "refrain from any unlawful use of a controlled substance." Judgment in No. 4:05-cr-00229 (ND Ohio), Doc. 37, p. 111.

         Mont did not succeed on supervised release. In March 2015, an Ohio grand jury charged him with two counts of marijuana trafficking in a sealed indictment. Mont was arrested and released on bond while awaiting trial for those charges. Things only got worse from there. In October 2015, Mont tested positive for cocaine and oxycodone during a routine drug test conducted as part of his supervised release. But Mont's probation officer did not immediately report these violations to the District Court; instead, the officer referred him for additional substance-abuse counseling. Mont proceeded to test positive in five more random drug tests over the next few months. He also used an "'unknown' liquid to try to pass two subsequent drug tests." 723 Fed. Appx., at 326. In January 2016, Mont's probation officer finally reported the supervised-release violations, including Mont's use of drugs and attempts to adulterate his urine samples. The violation report also informed the District Court about the pending state charges and the anticipated trial date of March 2016 in state court. The District Court declined to issue an arrest warrant at that time, but it asked to "'be notified of the resolution of the state charges.'" Ibid.; see 18 U.S.C. §3606 (explaining that the District Court "may issue a warrant for the arrest" of the releasee for "violation of a condition of release").

         On June 1, 2016, approximately four years and three months into his 5-year term of supervised release, Mont was arrested again on new state charges of trafficking in cocaine, and his bond was revoked on the earlier marijuana-trafficking charges. He was incarcerated in the Mahoning County Jail and has remained in state custody since that date. Mont's probation officer filed a report with the District Court stating that he had violated the terms of his release based on these new state offenses. The officer later advised the court that because Mont's incarceration rendered him unavailable for supervision, the Probation Office was "toll[ing]" his federal supervision. App. 21. The officer promised to keep the court apprised of the pending state charges and stated that, if Mont were convicted, the officer would ask the court to take action at that time.

         In October 2016, Mont entered into plea agreements with state prosecutors in exchange for a predetermined 6-year sentence. The state trial court accepted Mont's guilty pleas on October 6, 2016, and set the cases for sentencing in December 2016.

         Three weeks later, Mont filed a written admission in the District Court "acknowledg[ing]" that he had violated his conditions of supervised release "by virtue of his conviction following guilty pleas to certain felony offenses" in state court. Record in No. 4:05-cr-00229 (ND Ohio), Doc. 92, p. 419. Even though he had yet to be sentenced for the state offenses, Mont sought a hearing on the supervised-release violations at the court's "earliest convenience." Ibid. The court initially scheduled a hearing for November 9, 2016, but then, over Mont's objection, rescheduled the hearing several times to allow for "the conclusion of the State sentencing." App. 8; 723 Fed. Appx., at 327.

         On March 21, 2017, Mont was sentenced in state court to six years' imprisonment. The judge "credited the roughly ten months that Mont had already been incarcerated pending a disposition as time served." Id., at 327. The District Court issued a warrant on March 30, 2017, and ultimately set a supervised-release hearing for June 28, 2017.

         B

         Two days before that hearing, Mont challenged the jurisdiction of the District Court based on the fact that his supervised release had initially been set to expire on March 6, 2017. The court concluded that it had authority to supervise Mont, revoked his supervised release, and ordered him to serve an additional 42 months' imprisonment to run consecutive to his state sentence. The court held that it retained jurisdiction to revoke the release under 18 U.S.C. §3583(i), which preserves, for a "reasonably necessary" period of time, the court's power to adjudicate violations and revoke a term of supervised release after the term has expired "if, before its expiration, a warrant or summons has been issued on the basis of an allegation of such a violation." The court further held that it retained authority to revoke Mont's term of supervised release because it gave "notice by way of a summons" on November 1, 2016, when it originally scheduled the hearing. App. 22. The court also concluded that the delay between the guilty pleas in October 2016 and the hearing date in June 2017 was "reasonably necessary." Id., at 24.

         The Sixth Circuit affirmed on alternative grounds. The court could find no evidence in the record that a summons had issued within the meaning of §3583(i). 723 Fed. Appx., at 329, n. 5. But because Circuit precedent provided an alternative basis for affirmance, the court did not further consider the Government's argument that the District Court retained jurisdiction under §3583(i). Instead, the court held that Mont's supervised-release period was tolled while he was held in pretrial detention in state custody under §3624(e), which provides:

"(e) Supervision After Release.- . . . The term of supervised release commences on the day the person is released from imprisonment and runs concurrently with any Federal, State, or local term of probation or supervised release or parole for another offense to which the person is subject or becomes subject during the term of supervised release. A term of supervised release does not run during any period in which the person is imprisoned in connection with a conviction for a Federal, State, or local crime unless the imprisonment is for a period of less than 30 consecutive days." (Emphasis added.)

         Relying on Circuit precedent, the Sixth Circuit explained that when a defendant is convicted of the offense for which he was held in pretrial detention for longer than 30 days and '"his pretrial detention is credited as time served toward his sentence, then the pretrial detention is "in connection with" a conviction and tolls the period of supervised release under §3624.'" Id., at 328 (quoting United States v. Goins, 516 F.3d 416, 417 (2008)). Because Mont's term of supervised release had been tolled between June 2016 and March 2017, there was ample time left on his supervised-release term when the warrant issued on March 30, 2017.

         The Courts of Appeals disagree on whether §3624(e) tolls supervised release for periods of pretrial detention lasting longer than 30 days when that incarceration is later credited as time served on a conviction. Compare United States v. Ide, 624 F.3d 666, 667 (CA4 2010) (supervised-release period tolls); United States v. Molina-Gazca, 571 F.3d 470, 474 (CA5 2009) (same); United States v. Johnson, 581 F.3d 1310, 1312-1313 (CA11 2009) (same); Goins, supra, at 417 (same), with United States v. Marsh, 829 F.3d 705, 709 (CADC 2016) (supervised-release period does not toll); United States v. Morales-Alejo, 193 F.3d 1102, 1106 (CA9 1999) (same). We granted certiorari to resolve this split of authority. 586 U.S.__(2018).

         II

         We hold that pretrial detention later credited as time served for a new conviction is "imprison[ment] in connection with a conviction" and thus tolls the supervise d-release term under §3624(e). This is so even if the court must make the tolling calculation after learning whether the time will be credited. In our view, this reading is compelled by the text and statutory context of §3624(e).

         A

         Section 3624(e) provides for tolling when a person "is imprisoned in connection with a conviction." This phrase, sensibly read, includes pretrial detention credited toward another sentence for a new conviction.

         First, the definition of "is imprisoned" may well include pretrial detention. Both now and at the time Congress created supervised release, see §212(a)(2), 98 Stat. 1999-2000, the term "imprison" has meant "[t]o put in a prison," "to incarcerate," "[t]o confine a person, or restrain his liberty, in any way." Black's Law Dictionary 681 (5th ed. 1979); 5 Oxford English Dictionary 113 (1933); accord, Black's Law Dictionary 875 (10th ed. 2014). These definitions encompass pretrial detention, and, despite the dissent's reliance on a narrower definition, post, at 5-7 (opinion of SOTOMAYOR, J.), even Mont has not pressed any serious argument to the contrary. As the Sixth Circuit previously recognized, if imprisonment referred only to "confinement that is the result of a penalty or sentence, then the phrase 'in connection with a conviction' [would] becom[e] entirely superfluous." Goins, supra, at 421.

         Second, the phrase "in connection with a conviction" encompasses a period of pretrial detention for which a defendant receives credit against the sentence ultimately imposed. The Court has often recognized that "in connection with" can bear a "broad interpretation." Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. v. Dabit,547 U.S. 71, 85 (2006) (interpreting "in connection with the purchase or sale" broadly in the context of § 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. §78j(b)); see, e.g., United States v. American Union Transport, Inc.,327 U.S. 437, 443 (1946) (describing the phrase "in connection with" in the Shipping Act, 1916, 39 Stat. 728, as "broad and general"). The Court has also recognized that "'in connection with' is essentially indeterminate because connections, like relations, stop nowhere." Maracich v. Spears,570 U.S. 48, 59 (2013) (quotation altered). Here, however, we need not consider the outer bounds of the term "in connection with," as pretrial incarceration is directly tied to the conviction when it is credited toward the new ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.