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.

United States v. Goguen

United States District Court, D. Maine

November 2, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ROBERT GOGUEN

          ORDER ON MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION TO THE GOVERNMENT'S REQUEST TO APPLY THE PENALTY RANGES UNDER 18 U.S.C. § 3583(k)

          JOHN A. WOODCOCK, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On July 14, 2011, a convicted sex offender pleaded guilty to failing to register in the state of Maine in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250. The term of supervised release for a violation of § 2250 is “any term of years not less than 5, or life.” 18 U.S.C. § 3583(k). In addition, a defendant convicted of violating § 2250 may be subject to a special penalty of “not less than 5 years” of imprisonment if he commits one of a number of sex-related crimes while on supervised release. Id. For this provision to apply, while on supervised release, the defendant must meet a number of conditions: (1) he must be required to register under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), (2) he must commit another sex-related crime, and (3) the potential term of imprisonment for the new crime must be longer than one year. Id. If all these conditions are met, the statute requires the court to revoke the defendant's supervised release and to impose a sentence of at least five years' imprisonment on the supervised release violation. Id. The potential term of incarceration is life. Id.

         When this Defendant pleaded guilty to violating 18 U.S.C. § 2250, the Court, for reasons that are obscure, did not inform him of the correct term of supervised release or about the special penalty provision for a violation of supervised release. Instead, the Court misinformed the Defendant that he faced a maximum term of supervised release of three years under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(b)(2) and that the maximum term of imprisonment for a violation of a term of supervised release was two years pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(3). When the Court sentenced the Defendant, it improperly imposed a three-year term of supervised release under § 3583(b)(2).[1]

         Unfortunately, having served his term of incarceration and while on supervised release, the Probation Office filed a petition for revocation of supervised release alleging that the Defendant committed what amounts to new criminal conduct that would trigger the five-year mandatory and up to life term of incarceration under § 3583(k). On November 13, 2015, the Probation Office filed a petition for revocation on the ground that the Defendant possessed child pornography on his laptop computer.

         The Government asserts that § 3583(k) requires the Court to revoke the Defendant's term of supervised release and sentence him to at least five years in prison even though the Court incorrectly advised the Defendant that he faced a maximum of two years of imprisonment under §§ 3583(b)(2) and 3583(e)(3). The Defendant opposes the application of § 3583(k)'s penalty provision based on the erroneous information at the Rule 11 hearing.

         Given the unique circumstances of this case, the Court will limit the potential term of imprisonment for violation of supervised release to a maximum of two years consistent with what the Court told the Defendant at the Rule 11 hearing.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Initial Violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250

         On July 14, 2011, Robert Goguen pleaded guilty in the District of Maine to one count of failing to register as a sex offender in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250. Def.'s Mem. in Opp'n to Gov't's Req. to Apply the Penalty Ranges under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(k) at 2 (ECF No. 163) (Def.'s Mem.). Mr. Goguen's obligation to register as a sex offender stemmed from a 1996 Connecticut conviction of Sexual Assault in the Second Degree under Connecticut General Statute § 53a-71(a)(3). Def.'s Mem. Attach 1, Order on Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss at 1 (ECF No. 163). Mr. Goguen was released from custody for the 1996 conviction on April 1, 2000. Prosecution Version at 1 (ECF No. 42) (Pros. Version).

         On August 31, 2009, Mr. Goguen applied for and obtained a driver's license from the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Pros. Version at 2-3. On July 29, 2010, Mr. Goguen met with police officers and informed them that he had lived in Maine for the previous 16 months. Pros. Version at 3. Mr. Goguen failed to register as a sex offender in Maine during that time. Id. Accordingly, on January 12, 2011, a grand jury issued an indictment charging Mr. Goguen with one count of failing to register in violation of § 2250. Indictment (ECF No. 1).

         Mr. Goguen pleaded guilty on July 14, 2011. Minute Entry (ECF No. 43). At the time of the plea, the Government's Synopsis indicated that, in addition to imprisonment and a fine, Mr. Goguen faced a term of supervised release of not more than three years under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(b)(2). Synopsis at 1 (ECF No. 2). The Synopsis also indicated that if Mr. Goguen violated his supervised release, he could be imprisoned for not more than two years pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3583(e)(3). Id. At Mr. Goguen's Rule 11 hearing, consistent with the Synopsis, the Court informed Mr. Goguen:

Now, by pleading guilty to this crime, you're subject to the following maximum ranges of penalties. You're subject to being placed in jail for a period not to exceed ten years. You're subject to a fine not to exceed $250, 000, and it can be both prison and a fine. Following any term of imprisonment, you're subject to a period of supervised release not to exceed three years. If you were to violate a term of supervised release, you could go back to jail for a period not to exceed two years. And, finally, you're subject to a special assessment of $100.00.

Tr. of Proceedings at 8:16-9:2 (ECF No. 11). Mr. Goguen stated that he understood the maximum penalties and still wished to plead guilty. Id. at 9:3, 16:13-16. There was no plea agreement between the Government and Mr. Goguen. Id. 14:4-6.

         Following the Rule 11 hearing, the Probation Office filed a Revised Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) that also indicated that Mr. Goguen faced a term of supervised release not to exceed three years under § 3583(b)(2). Def.'s Mem. at 2; Gov't's Resp. to Def.'s Mem. in Opp'n to Gov't's Req. to Apply the Penalty Ranges under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(k) at 1-2 (ECF No. 164) (Gov't's Resp.). Neither party objected to this part of the PSR. On January 31, 2013, the Court sentenced Mr. Goguen to 37 months of imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and a $100.00 special assessment. Am. J. (ECF No. 90).

         B. Mr. Goguen's Supervised Release

         Mr. Goguen's term of supervised release commenced on May 11, 2013. Pet. for Warrant or Summons for Offender under Supervision at 1 (ECF No. 96). On September 23, 2013, Mr. Goguen admitted violating the term of his supervised release that required him to participate in sex offender treatment. Id. at 1-2; Minute Entry (ECF No. 112). The Court sentenced Mr. Goguen to five months of imprisonment and 31 months of supervised release. Minute Entry (ECF No. 112).

         Mr. Goguen's supervised release recommenced on January 15, 2014. Pet. for Warrant or Summons for Offender under Supervision (ECF No. 114). On November 13, 2015, the Probation Office moved the Court to issue a warrant for Mr. Goguen's arrest, alleging that on November 10, 2015, Mr. Goguen possessed a laptop computer containing child pornography in violation of his supervised release and 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(5). Id. at 1-2. In the motion, the Probation Office indicated that Mr. Goguen faced a term of imprisonment of up to two years for his supervised release violation pursuant to § 3583(e)(3). Id. at 4. The Court authorized the issuance of the arrest warrant, and Mr. Goguen was arrested on November 13, 2015. Minute Entry (ECF No. 148).

         C. The Dispute

         Following his arrest, the Government realized that the Court imposed an incorrect term of supervised release when it initially sentenced Mr. Goguen for failing to register as a sex offender. The Government pointed out that because Mr. Goguen violated § 2250, the Court should have imposed a term of supervised release between five years and life under 18 U.S.C. § 3583(k), rather than no more than three years under § 3583(b)(2). The distinction carries notable implications. If a defendant violates a term of release imposed under § 3583(b)(2), the maximum term of imprisonment is two years pursuant to § 3583(e)(3). However, if a defendant violates a term of release imposed under § 3583(k) having violated the special conditions set forth in that section, the Court must impose a five-year term of incarceration.

         The Government argued that because the Court should have imposed a term of supervised release under § 3583(k), the Court should now impose the penalty associated with § 3583(k), namely, at least five years' imprisonment. On January 21, 2016, Mr. Goguen filed a memorandum in opposition to the Government's request to apply the penalty ranges under § 3583(k). Def.'s Mem. In the memorandum, Mr. Goguen raises a number of interrelated issues. First, Mr. Goguen argues that he was not required to register under SORNA at the time he violated the term of supervise release, so the penalty provision of § 3583(k) does not apply. Next, he argues that imposing a term of supervised release under § 3583(k) is optional and that the Court properly used its discretion to impose a term of supervised release under § 3583(b)(2) rather than § 3583(k). Accordingly, he contends the corresponding penalty provisions of § 3583(e)(3) apply, limiting the term of imprisonment to a maximum of two years for violation of his supervised release. Finally, he argues that because the Court informed Mr. Goguen that he only faced a maximum term of imprisonment of two years for a supervised release violation, fairness prohibits the Court from now sentencing Mr. Goguen to a minimum of five years under § 3583(k).

         II. DISCUSSION

         The Court will first discuss Mr. Goguen's arguments that he was not required to register under SORNA at the time of his alleged violation of supervised release. Next, the Court will analyze whether the terms of § 3583(k) are mandatory when they apply to a defendant, or whether the Court can choose to impose a term of supervised release under § 3583(b) instead. The Court will then discuss whether it can impose a term of imprisonment between five years and life for a supervised release violation under § 3583(k) even though the Court informed the defendant at the Rule 11 hearing that he would only face a maximum of two years pursuant to §§ 3583(b)(2) and 3583(e)(3).

         A. SORNA Registration Requirement

         Mr. Goguen contends that the penalty provisions of § 3583(k) do not apply because he was not required to register under SORNA at the time of the alleged violation of supervised release in 2015. Def.'s Mem. at 10. Mr. Goguen alleges that he was not required to register because (1) the Maine Superior Court ruled that his obligation to register as a sex offender ended in 2010, id., and (2) he is not a Tier III offender under SORNA, and thus his obligation to register ended in 2010 before his alleged supervised release violation. Def.'s Reply at 11-14. The Court rejects both arguments and concludes that Mr. Goguen was required to register under SORNA at the time of the alleged violation.

         1. The Maine Superior Court Decision

         Mr. Goguen points out that the Maine Superior Court recently held that his obligation to register as a sex offender ended on April 1, 2010. Def.'s Mem. at 10 (citing State v. Goguen, No. CR-14-2979, Order on Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss (Me. Super. Ct. Dec. 10, 2015)) (State Goguen Order). Because the alleged violation of his supervised release occurred on November 10, 2015-over five years after his obligation to register ended-Mr. Goguen argues that the penalty provisions of § 3583(k) are inapplicable. Id.

         The Government asserts that Mr. Goguen's reliance on the Maine Superior Court decision is misplaced. Gov't's Resp. at 8. First, the Government argues that Mr. Goguen's federal obligation to register as a sex offender under SORNA is independent of any state obligations. Id. at 8-10. Additionally, the Government emphasizes that the Superior Court reached its decision by determining that the statute requiring Mr. Goguen to register as a sex offender for life violated the Ex Post Facto Clauses of the Maine and United States Constitutions. Id. at 8, 10. However, the Government explains, federal caselaw “has consistently rejected the position” that SORNA's registration requirements violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution. Id. at 10-11 (collecting cases). Accordingly, the Government urges the Court to find that Mr. Goguen was required to register as a sex offender and that the penalty provisions of § 3583(k) do apply.

         In reply, Mr. Goguen highlights that the Superior Court decision relied on State v. Letalien, 2009 ME 130, 985 A.2d 4, a Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruling that cited federal precedent to determine that the retroactive application of Maine's sex offender and registration and notification law violated the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution. Def.'s Reply at 15. As such, Mr. Goguen submits that the Superior Court decision “applies with equal force” to this Court's analysis. Id. at 14.

         The Superior Court's December 10, 2015 opinion in State v. Goguen addressed Mr. Goguen's motion to dismiss a criminal complaint pending against him in the Maine Superior Court for failing to register under 34-A M.R.S. § 11202, the Maine Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (MSORNA). State Goguen Order at 2. The Court noted that on September 6, 1996, Mr. Goguen had been convicted in the state of Connecticut of Sexual Assault in the Second Degree, a violation of Connecticut General Statute § 53a-71(a)(3). Id. at 1. As of the date of his conviction, Mr. Goguen was required to register as a sex offender for ten years after the date of his release from prison. Id. However, while he was in prison, the state of Connecticut enacted a law that required people who were released into the community on or after October 1, 1998, and who had been convicted of a sexually violent crime, including Sexual Assault in the Second Degree, to register as a sex offender for life. Id. Mr. Goguen was released into the community on April 1, 2000. Id.

         Mr. Goguen moved to the state of Maine in 2000. Id. at 2. MSORNA distinguishes between ten-year and lifetime registrants. 34-A M.R.S. § 11203(5), (8). Among other things, a lifetime registrant is a person who has been convicted of a “sexually violent offense.” 34-A M.R.S. § 11203(8)(A). MSORNA defines “sexually violent offense” by listing those crimes that qualify under Maine criminal law and by including a conviction in another jurisdiction “that includes the essential elements of an offense” so listed. 34-A M.R.S. § 11203(7)(A), (B). Consistent with this provision, the Superior Court Justice compared the elements of Sexual Assault in the Second Degree in Connecticut with the elements of Gross Sexual Assault in Maine and concluded that the Connecticut crime “appears to satisfy all of the essential elements of Maine's Gross Sexual Assault.” State Goguen Opinion at 7 (citing 17-A M.R.S. § 253(2)(D)). Thus, the Superior Court concluded that Mr. Goguen would be required to register under MSORNA, if MSORNA could constitutionally be applied to him. Id. at 2, 7.

         The Superior Court then analyzed the caselaw emanating from the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, specifically State v. Latelien; Doe I v. Williams, 2013 ME 24, 61 A.3d 718; and Doe XLVI v. Anderson, 2015 ME 3, 108 A.3d 378. Applying this caselaw, the Superior Court Justice concluded that “because Defendant's obligation to register in Maine stems from his obligation to register in Connecticut, and that obligation was effectively part of his sentencing in Connecticut, the application of [MSORNA] in these circumstances is so punitive in its effect that it violates the Ex Post Facto Clauses of the Maine and U.S. Constitutions.” Id. at 7-8. The Superior Court granted Mr. Goguen's motion to dismiss the criminal complaint. Id. at 8.

         Despite the Superior Court's conclusion, this Court concludes that SORNA requires Mr. Goguen to register as a sex offender for life, and thus the penalty provisions of § 3583(k) are applicable. Congress enacted SORNA in July 2006 to create “a comprehensive national system for the registration of [sex] offenders.” 42 U.S.C. § 16901. SORNA requires sex offenders to “register, and keep the registration current, in each jurisdiction where the offender resides…” 42 U.S.C. § 16913(a). SORNA's registration requirements apply regardless of whether an offender's predicate sexual offense occurred before or after SORNA came into effect in July 2006. See United States v. Parks, 698 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2012).

         Mr. Goguen's invocation of state authority is unavailing for several reasons. First, the Superior Court decision dealt with Mr. Goguen's registration obligations under Maine's sex offender and registration law. Yet Mr. Goguen's federal registration obligations are independent of his duties to register under Maine law. See United States v. Thompson, 431 F.Appx. 2 (1st Cir. 2011). In Thompson, the defendant was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender in Maine under SORNA. Id. at 3. The defendant argued that he could not have registered federally under SORNA because Maine had not yet enacted statutes or promulgated regulations implementing SORNA. Id. However, the First Circuit upheld the defendant's conviction because, under SORNA, “the [federal] registration requirements for sex offenders are neither conditioned on nor harnessed to state implementation of SORNA's state-directed mandates.” Id.

         Thompson makes clear that an offender's obligation to register under the federal SORNA statute is separate from the offender's duty to register under state law. Thus, even though Mr. Goguen was not required to register under Maine's sex offender registry law, he still needed to register federally under SORNA. See also United States v. Billiot, 785 F.3d 1266, 1269 (8th Cir. 2015) (“Although SORNA requires states to maintain a jurisdiction-wide sex offender registry, SORNA imposes an independent federal obligation for sex offenders to register that does not depend on, or incorporate, a state-law registration requirement”) (emphasis in original) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Additionally, the Maine state courts' ex post facto rulings are not binding on this Court. “Federal jurisprudence, not state jurisprudence, governs the resolution of ex post facto challenges in federal criminal cases.” Thompson, 431 F.Appx. At 4 (citing United States v. Rodriguez, 630 F.3d 39, 41-21 (1st Cir. 2010)). Federal jurisprudence, including binding First Circuit precedent, is clear that SORNA does not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution. See Parks, 698 F.3d at 6 (1st Cir. 2012) (joining “every circuit to consider the issue” in rejecting an ex post facto challenge to SORNA). In fact, the First Circuit specifically rejected a defendant's reference to State v. Letalien to argue that SORNA violated the Ex Post Facto Clause:

In an effort to blunt the force of this reasoning, the defendant repeatedly invokes the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine in [Letalien]…Letalien is of no consequence here. Federal jurisprudence, not state jurisprudence, governs the ...

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.