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USA v Del Valle-Cruz

4-6-15 Puerto Rico, Oklahoma, Florida:

USA v Del Valle-Cruz

Defendant Carlos Manuel Del Valle-Cruz ("Del Valle-Cruz") was sentenced to twenty-one months in prison and seven years of supervised release after pleading guilty to one count of failing to register as a sex offender.

By our count, this is the third time Del Valle-Cruz has been convicted of failing to register since his 1997 sex offense conviction. As troubling as that is, we note that he has not been charged with any other sex offenses in the intervening eighteen years.

The terms of Del Valle-Cruz's supervised release include a series of special conditions that prohibit him from contact with minors and require him to undergo sex offender treatment — terms that were not imposed as part of his sentence for the underlying sex offense. Moreover, these conditions were imposed in a boilerplate fashion, devoid of any explanation by the district court.

Del Valle-Cruz now seeks to vacate his conviction or, failing that, the aforementioned special conditions. A waiver of appeal bars Del Valle-Cruz's appeal of his conviction, as well as his appeal of most of the special conditions. NOTE: There is a large section within decision that explains this more fully, and includes the Oklahoma case of Starkey.

However, as to his appeal of the conditions that would interfere with his relationship with his son, to avoid a miscarriage of justice, we decline to enforce the waiver and instead vacate those conditions that would prevent Del Valle-Cruz from contact with, or residing with minors.

We will remand for de novo resentencing with respect to the supervised release term, so that the district court can consider the supervised release conditions as a whole and in light of intervening precedent.

Upon remand for further proceedings on the special conditions, we invite the district court to revisit the conditions and to explain their justification in this case.

... ... ...


We dismiss Del Valle-Cruz's appeal of his conviction, as well as the conditions imposing sex offender treatment, and prohibiting working with or volunteering with minors.

We vacate conditions 13 and 15, and we remand to the district court for re-sentencing consistent with this opinion.

The re-sentencing shall be limited to the terms of supervised release, and at that time, given the concerns we have expressed herein, the district court may revisit all of the special conditions. United States v. Francois, 715 F.3d 21, 34 (1st Cir. 2013) ("[P]recedent in this Circuit establishes that `an appellate ruling invalidating a sentence . . . may implicate the trial judge's comprehensive, interdependent imposition of a penalty and thus require resentencing on all counts.'" (quoting United States v. Melvin, 27 F.3d 710, 712 (1st Cir. 1994))). At resentencing the district court should explain its reasons for the imposition of conditions and provide factual findings supported by the record.

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