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United States v. Stewart

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

August 29, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
HEATHER WISBY STEWART, Defendant.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO REVOKE DEFENDANT'S SUPERVISED RELEASE

KEITH STRONG, District Judge.

I. Synopsis

Ms. Stewart was accused of violating the conditions of her supervised release by consuming methamphetamine. She admitted to the violations. Evidence introduced by the United States established that Ms. Stewart attempted to evade arrest for the violation, placing law enforcement officers in danger and egregiously violating the court's trust. Her supervised release should be revoked, and she could be incarcerated for 15 months. No additional supervised release should be imposed.

II. Status

Ms. Stewart pleaded guilty in 2008 to Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine. See CD 2-1. She was sentenced to five months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. See CD 2-1. Ms. Stewart's supervised release was revoked in January 2012 for absconding from supervision. CD 13. She was ordered to serve eight months in prison, with 36 months supervised release to follow. CD 13. Ms. Stewart's current term of supervision began August 29, 2012. CD 17.

Ms. Stewart's probation officer filed a "Report on Offender Under Supervision" in May 2013. The report alleged that Ms. Stewart tested positive for several illegal drugs, and had been dishonest about her drug use with the probation officer. The probation officer did not seek revocation at that time, and Ms. Stewart was provided outpatient substance abuse treatment. CD 16.

Petition

The United States Probation Office filed a petition on July 25, 2013, asking the court to revoke Ms. Stewart's supervised release. CD 17. The petition alleged Ms. Stewart violated the Preamble to Standard Conditions of her supervised release by consuming a controlled substance. Ms. Stewart tested positive for methamphetamine or amphetamines on or around July 19, 2013. She later told her probation officer she had used methamphetamine. CD 17. Based on the petition, the undersigned issued a warrant for Ms. Stewart's arrest on July 25. CD 18.

Initial appearance

Ms. Stewart was not arrested until July 30, 2013 because she hid from law enforcement officers. CD 19. She made an initial appearance before the Hon. Robert M. Holter, United States Magistrate Judge, on July 31. Ms. Stewart was accompanied by Federal Defender R. Henry Branom, who was appointed to represent her. Assistant United States Attorney Ryan Weldon represented the United States. Ms. Stewart said she had received a copy of the petition. She waived her right to a preliminary examination. Mr. Weldon stated that Ms. Stewart could be imprisoned for up to 36 months if her supervised release is revoked. Judge Holter ordered Ms. Stewart detained until the revocation hearing, which was scheduled for August 8, 2013.

Revocation hearing

Ms. Stewart appeared before the undersigned at the scheduled revocation hearing with Mr. Branom. Mr. Weldon appeared for the United States. The undersigned explained the Findings and Recommendations procedure: that a recommendation would be made to United States District Judge Dana L. Christensen, who would decide finally whether to revoke Ms. Stewart's supervised release and, if so, what sanction to impose.

Mr. Branom explained that Ms. Stewart had intended to admit the alleged violation. However, she was concerned that she would be prejudiced by allegations in the United States Marshal's report regarding her arrest. Mr. Weldon said the United States could proceed without relying on the arrest report. Nonetheless, the undersigned believed the allegations in the report would be admissible and highly relevant. The hearing was re-scheduled for August 20, 2013, so the United States could ...


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