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United States v. Follet

United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division

December 15, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ISAIAH THOMAS FOLLET, Defendant.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO REVOKE SUPERVISED RELEASE

          Timothy J. Cavan United States Magistrate Judge

         A petition alleges that Defendant Isaiah Thomas Follet violated a condition of his supervised release. United States District Court Judge Susan Watters referred the matter to the undersigned to conduct a final hearing and issue findings and recommendations. (Doc. 97, citing 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Fed. R. Crim. P. 59(a)).

         On December 13, 2016, the Court conducted the revocation hearing. Mr. Follet admitted the violation alleged in the petition. As discussed below, it is recommended that Mr. Follet's supervised release be revoked, and that the Court sentence Mr. Follet to 9 months imprisonment, followed by a lifetime term of supervised release.

         I. Background

         In 2009, Mr. Follet pled guilty to the offense of Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a). (Docs. 29, 32, & 33). On December 2, 2009, the Court sentenced him to 60 months imprisonment, to be followed by a lifetime term of supervised release. (Docs. 35, 36).

         Mr. Follet's initial term of supervised release began on December 20, 2013. (Doc. 70). In April 2014, Mr. Follet's supervised release was revoked because he violated its conditions by failing to follow the directions of his probation officer, failing to report as directed, and failing to appear for urinalysis testing. (Doc. 57). Judge Watters sentenced Mr. Follet to 9 months of incarceration, followed by a lifetime term of supervised release. Id.

         Mr. Follet's next term of supervised release began on December 26, 2014. (Doc. 60). In February 2015, Mr. Follet's supervised release was revoked because he violated its conditions by failing to follow the directions of the probation officer, failing to register as a sex offender, and failing to report to his probation officer within 72 hours of release. Judge Watters sentenced Mr. Follet to 9 months of incarceration, followed by a lifetime term of supervised release. (Doc. 68).

         Mr. Follet's third term of supervised release began on November 6, 2015. (Doc. 70). In December 2015, Mr. Follet's supervision was again revoked for failure to report to the probation office within 72 hours of release, and failure to register as a sex offender. Judge Watters sentenced Mr. Follet to 9 months imprisonment, followed by a lifetime term of supervised release. (Doc. 81).

         Mr. Follet's current term of supervised release began on August 18, 2016. (Doc. 84) On August 23, 2016, the United States Probation Office filed the petition now at issue. (Doc. 84). The petition alleges that Mr. Follet violated the conditions of supervised release by failing to report to his probation officer within 72 hours of his release from custody in Lompoc, California on August 18, 2016, and that he had been arrested in Santa Barbara, California on August 23, 2016. Id. Based on the petition, Judge Watters issued a warrant for Mr. Follet's arrest. (Doc. 85).

         Mr. Follet made an initial appearance on the petition before United States Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby on October 31, 2016. (Doc. 89). Mr. Follet, represented by counsel, stated that he had read the petition and waived a preliminary hearing. Id. Judge Ostby set the final revocation hearing for November 15, 2016, whereupon Mr. Follet was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal Service pending the revocation hearing. Id. Following two continuances of the hearing, the matter was referred to the undersigned for a final revocation hearing on December 13, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. (Docs. 97, 98).

         II. Revocation Hearing

         Mr. Follet appeared at the revocation hearing represented by David Merchant of the Federal Defenders of Montana. Assistant United States Attorney Brendan McCarthy represented the United States. The undersigned explained the Findings and Recommendations procedure to Mr. Follet, including his right to appear before Judge Watters, and the necessity of properly objecting to the Findings and Recommendations in order to preserve that right. After consenting to proceed, Defendant admitted the violation alleged in the petition.

         The undersigned accepted the admission and proceeded to sentencing issues. The undersigned calculated that Mr. Follet's violation grade is Grade C, his criminal history category is I, and the underlying offense is a Class C felony. Under those circumstances, the maximum sentence is 24 months incarceration, and the United States Sentencing Guidelines call for 3-9 months incarceration. Mr. Follet also could be sentenced to as much as a lifetime period of supervised release. Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Merchant agreed with those calculations.

         Mr. Merchant requested a sentence of time served or, in the alternative, a sentence less than the maximum guideline range. Mr. Merchant argued that Mr. Follet has not been out of custody long enough to establish himself in the community. Mr. Merchant specifically noted that Mr. Follet would benefit from a sexual offender treatment program, and suggested Montana's “Watch Program” as a viable option. Ultimately, Mr. Merchant argued that incarceration has not worked for Mr. Follet in the past and that further incarceration likely would not be any more efficacious; accordingly, Mr. Merchant requested an alternative sentence that would include a component of sexual offender treatment. Mr. Merchant ...


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