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United States v. Wellington

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

February 27, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ERIC JAMES WELLINGTON, Defendant.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          JOHN JOHNSTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Synopsis

         Defendant Eric James Wellington (Wellington) has been accused of violating the conditions of his supervised release. Wellington admitted one of the two alleged violations. The government met its burden of proof with respect to the alleged violation that Wellington did not admit. Wellington's supervised release should be revoked. Wellington should be placed in custody for 12 months, with 18 months of supervised release to follow. Wellington should serve the first 2 months of supervised release at Connections Corrections in Butte, Montana, or at a similar secure drug treatment facility.

         II. Status

         Wellington pleaded guilty to being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm on September 21, 2015. (Doc. 8). The Court sentenced Wellington to 24 months of custody, followed by 30 months of supervised release. (Doc. 17). Wellington's current term of supervised release began on August 18, 2017. (Doc. 29 at 1).

         Petition

         The United States Probation Office filed a Petition on January 29, 2019, requesting that the Court revoke Wellington's supervised release. (Doc. 29). The Petition alleges that Wellington violated the conditions of his supervised release: 1) by committing another crime; and 2) by consuming alcohol. (Doc. 29 at 2). United States District Judge Brian Morris issued a warrant for Wellington's arrest.

         Initial appearance

         Wellington appeared before the undersigned for his initial appearance on February 19, 2019. Wellington was represented by counsel. Wellington stated that he had read the petition and that he understood the allegations. Wellington waived his right to a preliminary hearing. The parties consented to proceed with the revocation hearing before the undersigned.

         Revocation hearing

         The Court conducted a revocation hearing on February 19, 2019, and on February 26, 2019. Wellington admitted that he had violated the conditions of his supervised release by consuming alcohol. Wellington could not admit or deny that he had committed other crimes as charged in alleged Violation No. 1. The government met its burden of proof with respect to alleged Violation No. 1. The violations are serious and warrant revocation of Wellington's supervised release.

         Wellington's violation are Grade B violations. Wellington's criminal history category is V. Wellington's underlying offense is a Class C felony. Wellington could be incarcerated for up to 24 months. He could be ordered to remain on supervised release for up to 30 months, less any custody time imposed. The United States Sentencing Guidelines call for a term of custody of 18 to 24 months.

         III. Analysis

         Wellington's supervised release should be revoked. Wellington should be incarcerated for 12 months, with 18 months of supervised release to follow. Wellington should serve the first 2 months of supervised release at Connections Corrections in Butte, Montana, or at a similar secure drug treatment facility. The supervised release conditions ...


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