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US v Goodwin

5-8-2013 Illinois:

US v Goodwin
No. 12-2921.

Charles Goodwin pleaded guilty to knowingly failing to register and update a registration as a sex offender, as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act ("SORNA"). He was sentenced to 27 months' imprisonment, to be followed by a life term of supervised release, subject to ten special conditions.

Goodwin claims that the relevant SORNA provision is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority; argues that the district court committed plain error by miscalculating his advisory Sentencing Guidelines range for supervised release and then imposing a sentence within that miscalculated range; and challenges four conditions of his supervised release.

We find his nondelegation claim unpersuasive, and therefore affirm his conviction. We further hold that the erroneous calculation of the advisory Guidelines range and the imposition of special conditions without explanation by the district court or support in the record warrant vacating his sentence and remanding to the district court for resentencing.

... ... ...

Goodwin argues that his deprivation of expressive material under Conditions 6 & 7 violates his First Amendment rights. Since we vacate these conditions on other grounds, we need not reach this constitutional question. See Ashwander v. Tenn. Valley Auth., 297 U.S. 288, 341 (19836) (Brandeis, J., concurring).

6. Other Conditions
Goodwin's objections to the special conditions that the district court imposed focus exclusively on Conditions 4-7. We wonder why he has not objected to Conditions 8 and 10 as well. These two conditions require him to participate (at his own expense) in sex offender treatment and mental health counseling, respectively, "as deemed necessary by the probation officer." As with the other special conditions, the district court imposed these conditions without explanation.

We note once again that each special condition imposed must be tailored to Goodwin and his needs, see Angle, 598 F.3d at 360-61, and involve no greater deprivation of liberty than is reasonably necessary to achieve the goals of deterrence, protection of the public, and rehabilitation, see Holm, 326 F.3d at 876. Given that Goodwin's instant offense is for a failure to register, the penological purpose of these treatment and counseling programs is far from clear.

Courts of appeals ordinarily abstain from considering issues sua sponte. See Wood v. Milyard, 132 S.Ct. 1826, 1834 (2012). Nonetheless, "[w]hen in a criminal appeal the court of appeals notices a plain error, it can reverse even if the appellant had not drawn the error to the court's attention." United States v. Gutierrez-Ceja, 711 F.3d 780, 784 (7th Cir. 2013). Here, we are unable to discern any connection between Goodwin's offense and the purposes that sex offender treatment and mental health counseling typically serve. Thus, Conditions 8 and 10 require additional consideration on remand, for similar reasons as explained in our discussion of Conditions 4-7.


For the foregoing reasons, we AFFIRM Goodwin's conviction, VACATE the supervised release portion of his sentence, and REMAND to the district court for resentencing consistent with this opinion. The resentencing shall be limited to a reassessment of the length of Goodwin's supervised release and any special conditions imposed during this period.

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