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. Holena

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

October 10, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
BRANDEN HOLENA, Appellant

          Argued July 10, 2018

          On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (D.C. No. 3:07-cr-00169-001) District Judge: Honorable Matthew W. Brann

          Heidi R. Freese, Esq. Federal Public Defender for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Frederick W. Ulrich, Esq. [ARGUED] Assistant Federal Public Defender Office of Federal Public Defender Counsel for Appellant

          David J. Freed, Esq. United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Carlo D. Marchioli, Esq. [ARGUED] Office of United States Attorney Francis P. Sempa, Esq. Office of United States Attorney Counsel for Appellee

          Before: GREENAWAY, JR., RESTREPO, and BIBAS, Circuit Judges

          OPINION

          BIBAS, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         To protect the public, a sentencing judge may restrict a convicted defendant's use of computers and the internet. But to respect the defendant's constitutional liberties, the judge must tailor those restrictions to the danger posed by the defendant. A complete ban on computer and internet use "will rarely be sufficiently tailored." United States v. Albertson, 645 F.3d 191, 197 (3d Cir. 2011). This case illustrates why.

         Branden Holena was convicted of using the internet to try to entice a child into having sex. As a condition of his supervised release from prison, he may not possess or use computers or other electronic communication devices. Nor may he use the internet without his probation officer's approval. Restricting his internet access is necessary to protect the public. But these restrictions are not tailored to the danger he poses. So we will vacate and remand for resentencing.

         I. Background

         Holena repeatedly visited an online chatroom and tried to entice a fourteen-year-old boy to have sex. He made plans to meet the boy. He assured the boy that his age was not a problem, as long as the boy did not tell the police. But the "boy" was an FBI agent. So when Holena arrived at the arranged meeting spot in a park, he was arrested and charged with attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual acts.

         Holena pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment and a lifetime of supervised release. As a special condition of that supervised release, he was forbidden to use the internet without his probation officer's approval. He had to submit to regular searches of his computer and home. And he had to let the probation office install monitoring and filtering software on his computer.

         After serving his prison sentence, Holena violated the terms of his supervised release-twice. The first time, he went online to update social-media profiles and answer emails. The second time, he logged into Facebook without approval, then lied about it to his probation officer. After each violation, the court sentenced him to nine more months' imprisonment and reimposed the special conditions.

         At Holena's latest revocation hearing, the judge imposed another condition, forbidding him to possess or use any computers, electronic communications devices, or electronic storage devices. Holena objected to this lifetime ban.

         II. Jurisdiction and Standard of Review

         The District Court had jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C. §§ 3231 and 3583(e). We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and 18 U.S.C. § 3742(a).

         We review revocation of supervised release for abuse of discretion. United States v. Bagdy, 764 F.3d 287, 290 (3d Cir. 2014). We insist on "some evidence" that the special conditions imposed are "tangibly related" to the goals of supervised release. United States v. Voelker, 489 F.3d 139, 144 (3d Cir. 2007); see 18 U.S.C. § 3583(d). To justify special conditions, district courts must find supporting facts. United States v. Thielemann, 575 F.3d 265, 272 (3d Cir. 2009). We may affirm if we can "ascertain any viable basis" in the record for the restriction. Id. (quoting Voelker, 489 F.3d at 144). Here, we cannot.

         III. The Special Conditions Are Not Sufficiently Tailored

         Holena argues that the bans on computer and internet use are both contradictory and more restrictive than necessary. We agree. And we note that 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.