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United States v. Whitegrass

United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division

July 11, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
CHANLER CHAZE WHITEGRASS, Defendant.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO REVOKE DEFENDANT'S SUPERVISED RELEASE

          John Johnston, United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. Synopsis

         The United States accused Chanler Chaze Whitegrass of violating his conditions of supervised release by 1) failing to maintain employment, 2) failing to notify the probation office of a change in address, 3) consuming alcohol, 4) failing to maintain employment, and 5) failure to follow the instructions of the probation office. He admitted to violations 2 through 5. Mr. Whitegrass's supervised release should be revoked. He should be sentenced to six months in custody, with twenty-eight months of supervised release to follow.

         II. Status

         On September 24, 2015, United States District Judge Brian Morris sentenced Mr. Whitegrass to twenty-two months in custody, with thirty-six months of supervised release to follow, after he pleaded guilty to Strangulation. (Doc. 27). Mr. Whitegrass began his original term of supervised release on December 8, 2016.

         On July 6, 2017, a non-compliance hearing was held, alleging that Mr. Whitegrass had violated the conditions of his supervision by failing to report for random drug testing, failure to report for substance abuse treatment, failure to maintain employment, failure to notify his probation officer of a change in employment, association with a convicted felon, a citation for having an open container and consuming alcohol on four separate occasions. (See Doc. 32). Mr. Whitegrass admitted to these violations, and on July 17, Judge Morris ordered a modification of conditions to include three months of electronic monitoring supervision. (Doc. 31).

         On October 30, 2017, the Court revoked Mr. Whitegrass's supervised release based on Mr. Whitegrass's failure to report for substance abuse testing, failure to report, and failure to notify his probation officer of a change in residence, and sentenced him to two months custody with thirty-four months of supervised release to follow. (Doc. 42). Mr. Whitegrass began his current term of supervised release on October 31, 2017.

         Petition

         On May 10, 2018, the Probation Office filed a Petition asking the Court to revoke Mr. Whitegrass's supervised release. The petition alleged that on February 6, 2018, Mr. Whitegrass was terminated from FT Soutions due to poor performance and allegedly throwing a hammer at his supervisor. The petition further alleged that on May 3, 2018, Mr. Whitegrass's probation officer attempted to visit him at his listed address, but that Mr. Whitegrass had moved out without informing the officer. Also, the petition alleged that on May 4, 2018, Mr. Whitegrass was found intoxicated and asleep behind a Conoco Travel Post, and that his BAC was .247. The petition also alleged that on May 7, 2018, Mr. Whitegrass was terminated from his employment at Empire Roofing due to unexcused absences. Finally, the petition alleged that on May 7, 2018, Mr. Whitegrass failed to appear at the probation office as instructed. (Doc. 44). Based on the petition, Judge Morris issued a warrant for Mr. Whitegrass's arrest. (Doc. 45).

         Initial appearance

         Mr. Whitegrass appeared before the undersigned on July 10, 2018, in Great Falls, Montana. Federal Defender Hank Branom accompanied him at the initial appearance. Assistant United States Attorney Ryan Weldon represented the United States.

         Mr. Whitegrass said he had read the petition and understood the allegations. He waived the preliminary hearing, and the parties consented to proceeding before the undersigned.

         Revocation hearing

         Mr. Whitegrass admitted to the violations as set forth in violations 2 through 5 in the petition. The United States did not put on any evidence in support of violation 1, which Mr. Whitegrass denied, and did not meet its burden with respect to violation 1. The ...


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