Court Opinions: 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion for Jan. 6

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

Editor’s Note: Law Week Colorado edits court opinion summaries for style and, when necessary, length.

United States v. Ortiz

Joseph Ortiz pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. A district court in New Mexico sentenced him to a prison term followed by supervised release. Ortiz’s probation officer later petitioned to revoke Ortiz’s supervised release, alleging he had violated three conditions. Ortiz admitted to the violations, and the court again imposed incarceration followed by supervised release, with the condition that Ortiz participated in outpatient substance abuse treatment. Ortiz challenged that condition in Appeal No. 21-2026.  

While his first appeal was pending, the probation officer again petitioned to revoke Ortiz’s supervised release, alleging he had violated a condition requiring him to complete a term in a residential reentry center. Ortiz admitted to the violation, and the court, once again, ordered incarceration and supervised release with the condition that he attend outpatient substance abuse treatment. Ortiz challenged the condition in Appeal No. 22-2026. 

A 10th Circuit Court of Appeals panel out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, dismissed the first appeal as moot because he’s no longer serving the supervised release term. The 10th Circuit noted the propriety of the outpatient-treatment condition in Ortiz’s second appeal was a live issue because he’s still subject to the supervised-release term associated with that appeal. 

Concerning Appeal No. 21-2026, the 10th Circuit ruled the district court didn’t abuse its discretion because it satisfied three criteria needed to impose special conditions of supervised release: it must be reasonably related to certain sentencing factors, including the defendant’s history and characteristics; it must involve no greater liberty deprivation than reasonably necessary to deter criminal activity, protect the public and promote rehabilitation; and it must be consistent with any pertinent sentencing commission policy statements. 

The 10th Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment. 

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