Is Federal Supervised Release Unconstitutional?

A federal judge and several other law experts argued in a recent law review journal that the way federal supervised release works is unconstitutional. The big problem, they point out, is that someone can be thrown back in prison for years without ever being charged with a crime or given the protections normally given for locking someone up, even without any evidence.

Round and round they go, a BOP perimeter vehicle drives around the federal prison in Terminal Island, California, 24 hours a day

Judge Stefan Underhill, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, with co-author Grace E. Powell, headed up the article in the Virginia Law Review’s online journal. They provided a good case on why the current process for handling federal supervised release violations may be unconstitutional.

I think this passage from the article provides a good gist of what these experts are trying to say:

Those who drafted the Fifth and Sixth Amendments did so with the goal of making it difficult for the government to arbitrarily imprison a person. The current supervised release system offers prosecutors and courts what amounts to an end run around those carefully crafted protections, an expedient route to imprisonment that avoids the inconveniences of obtaining an indictment, affording the right to jury trial, and proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In our view, it is that very expediency that violates the Constitution, harming not only those whose constitutional rights are denied, but also eroding – prosecution by prosecution – the constitutional structure put in place by the framers to protect ordinary citizens from the misuse of government power.

Read the full article here:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: