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United States v. Tipton

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville

October 9, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
RODNEY LEE TIPTON

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

PAMELA L. REEVES, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on the petition of the United States Probation Office to modify the defendant's conditions of supervised release [R. 199]. Defendant's supervising probation officer seeks to impose certain special conditions including a psychosexual assessment, polygraph testing, and unrestricted searches of defendant's person, residence, vehicle, or any area over which he exercises control. Defendant opposes any such modifications as being unrelated to his offense of conviction and a significant and unnecessary intrusion [R. 205, 207]. The government has submitted a response to the defendant's objections [R. 206].

Facts

On January 7, 1991, defendant and his co-defendant, Bobby Davis, kidnapped a woman at gunpoint from her car in Maryville, Tennessee. During the kidnapping, that lasted over one day and involved interstate travel, the victim was raped repeatedly by both men. The victim was ultimately able to leave the motel room where she was held prisoner and summon the police.

On January 8, 1991, defendant was charged with aggravated rape and aggravated robbery in Blount County, Tennessee. Following a jury trial, defendant was found guilty of both charges and sentenced to 25 years for the aggravated rape and eight years for the aggravated robbery, to be served concurrently.

On April 17, 1991, defendant was charged with kidnapping, and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. On January 9, 1992, a jury found defendant guilty on both charges. On September 11, 1992, United States District Judge Thomas G. Hull sentenced defendant to 188 months for the kidnapping and 60 months for the firearm offense, to run consecutively for an effective sentence of 248 months. Judge Hull ran the federal sentences concurrent to the state sentences, followed by a five-year term of supervised release. The court imposed standard conditions of release, but did not order sex offender treatment and/or assessment. At the time he was sentenced by Judge Hull, defendant was thirty-six years old.

After serving approximately twenty-two years in prison, defendant was released to federal supervision on December 21, 2013. Defendant was released without any state parole supervision, but is required to register as a sex offender for life, pursuant to state law. Under the conditions of his federal supervision, defendant is required to participate in a program approved by the Probation Office for substance abuse and is prohibited from possessing a firearm, in addition to the standard conditions of supervision. Following his release from prison, defendant obtained employment as a maintenance man at his family's trailer park in Blount County, Tennessee. In the petition, the probation officer expresses concern that defendant's employment provides special access to "individuals in the trailer park that may be particularly vulnerable due to income, education, or lack of resources." Defendant, in an effort to appease these concerns, has obtained alternative employment. He no longer works in the trailer park community. Defendant is currently employed as a bus painter.

The probation officer assigned to supervise defendant states that, while imprisoned, defendant did not receive a psychosexual evaluation or sex offender treatment. The probation officer, during an interview with defendant, presented him with modified conditions of supervised release. Defendant refused to agree to the modifications. On February 10, 2014, the probation officer filed the instant petition, which includes the following four special conditions:

1. The defendant shall submit to a psychosexual assessment at his own expense, as directed by the probation officer. The defendant shall waive all rights to confidentiality regarding the psychosexual evaluation in order to allow release of information to the United States Probation Officer and the treatment providers.
2. The defendant shall have no direct or third party contact with the victim in this case by any means available to him.
3. The defendant shall submit to polygraph testing at his own expense, as directed by the probation officer, in order to determine if he is in compliance with the conditions of supervision, or to facilitate sex offender evaluation and/or treatment. The defendant shall be truthful during polygraph evaluations.
4. The defendant shall submit his person, residence, vehicle, or any area over which he exercises control to a search conducted by a United States Probation Officer, at a reasonable time and in a reasonable manner, without prior notice or search warrant, in order to determine if the defendant is in compliance with the conditions of supervision. The defendant shall warn anyone with whom he resides that the premises may be subject to searches pursuant to this condition.

[R. 199]. On July 10, 2014, defendant waived his right to a hearing pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 32.1(c), and asked the court to consider this matter based upon the written pleadings filed by the parties [R. 205-1].

The defendant argues that since his release approximately ten months ago, he has not violated his conditions of release, and there has been no change in circumstances warranting a change in his conditions of supervision. Therefore, he objects, in part, to the proposed modifications requested by the Probation Office. Defendant states he has no objection to the request listed in Condition No. 2 (that he have no contact with the victim in this case). He also has no objection to Condition No. 4 (authority to conduct searches of his person and residence), but asks the court to clarify the legal standard associated with this condition, in order to better define the parameters of this directive. With regard to Condition No. 1 (psychosexual assessment) and Condition No. 3 (polygraph testing), defendant avers that the petition fails to establish legal grounds for imposition of those requirements. Defendant states there is no indication that he has committed a sex offense, or any other offense, during the last twenty-three years. He ...


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