FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MAINE [Hon. John A. Woodcock, Jr., U.S. District Judge]
Michelle Menken and The Law Office of Michelle Menken on
brief for appellant.
M. Lipez, Assistant United States Attorney, and Halsey B.
Frank, United States Attorney, on brief for appellee.
Lynch, Kayatta, and Barron, Circuit Judges.
KAYATTA, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
his release from federal custody following a drug trafficking
conviction, Ricky Sirois failed three drug tests and pleaded
guilty to felony drug possession in state court. Concluding
that this conduct violated Sirois's conditions of
supervised release, the district court revoked his supervised
release and committed him to twenty-four months'
imprisonment. On appeal, Sirois contends that because his
drug addiction is a disease, sentencing him to a term of
imprisonment for manifesting a condition of his disease
constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the
Eighth Amendment. Sirois also challenges the substantive
reasonableness of his sentence. For the following reasons, we
has struggled with substance abuse for most of his life. He
suffered severe physical and emotional trauma at an early
age, and, in his teenage years, began using drugs. In the
ensuing decades, Sirois accumulated numerous run-ins with the
law. The facts of this case revolve around a few such
November of 2011, a grand jury indicted Sirois on drug
trafficking charges stemming from his participation in an
oxycodone distribution ring in central and southern Maine.
Sirois pleaded guilty, and the district court sentenced
Sirois to forty-eight months' imprisonment, followed by
three years of supervised release. As part of the conditions
of his supervised release, the district court required that
Sirois not commit any crime, specifically prohibited him from
using or possessing controlled substances, and required that
he submit to drug testing.
served his time in prison and commenced his term of
supervised release on June 1, 2015. With but minor blemishes,
this post-incarceration period appears to have begun
smoothly. Sirois rented a room, communicated with his
probation officer, and found legitimate sources of income. He
also took steps to address his substance abuse. Sirois
attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, developed a strong
relationship with his sponsor, and attempted
to obtain a prescription for Subutex to manage his opiate
addiction. During this first year, Sirois passed his required
a year after his release, Sirois faltered. On May 18, 2016,
his drug test turned up positive for cocaine, which he
admitted using. In September of the same year, Sirois had a
long-awaited foot surgery. The doctor prescribed
hydromorphone, an opioid, to manage pain. Sirois does not
appear to have abused his prescription; a pill count
conducted by his probation officer detected no issues, and
his doctor then tapered the prescription.
long after, however, Sirois renewed the behavior that the
terms of his release prohibited. Twice, in February and April
of 2017, Sirois's drug tests detected the presence of
cocaine or marijuana. Random home searches revealed his
renewed association with other drug users. Sirois appeared to
turn antagonistic to drug treatment, calling his drug testing
"bullshit" and declaring that he would rather go
back to jail than engage in substance abuse treatment,
although he did reluctantly agree to complete a substance
downward spiral culminated on May 24, 2017, when Waterville,
Maine police discovered Sirois, during a traffic stop, in
possession of a crack pipe, hypodermic needles, marijuana,
crack cocaine, and heroin. Sirois pleaded guilty to one count
of unlawful possession of heroin, a Class C felony under
Maine state law, and received a sentence of fifty-nine days
state drug conviction and failed drug tests led the probation
office to seek the revocation of his supervised release. The
Revocation Report calculated, and Sirois did not then and
does not now dispute, that his guidelines sentencing ...