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United States v. Barcus

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

June 8, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Trevon Barcus, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued: April 25, 2018

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville. No. 3:16-cr-00113-1-Thomas W. Phillips, District Judge.

         ARGUED:

          Jennifer Niles Coffin, FEDERAL DEFENDER SERVICES OF EASTERN TENNESSEE, INC., Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellant.

          Debra A. Breneman, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          Jennifer Niles Coffin, FEDERAL DEFENDER SERVICES OF EASTERN TENNESSEE, INC., Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellant.

          Kelly A. Norris, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellee.

          Before: COLE, Chief Judge; GUY and DONALD, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          COLE, CHIEF JUDGE

         This matter presents a familiar question in our court: what special penalties are placed on sex offenders for violating the law? Trevon Barcus is a sex offender. After cutting off his ankle bracelet and fleeing to Texas, Barcus pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex offender as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act ("SORNA"). The district court sentenced him to 30 months of imprisonment and five years of supervised release with special sex offender conditions of supervision. Barcus now challenges his sentence on three fronts: (1) that the district court incorrectly classified him as a Tier III sex offender, (2) that the district court incorrectly interpreted the Sentencing Guidelines when it found that Tennessee "community supervision for life" qualified as a criminal justice sentence, and (3) that the special sex offender conditions of supervision are unreasonable.

         Because we agree that Barcus was incorrectly classified as a Tier III sex offender, we vacate Barcus's sentence and remand to the district court for resentencing.

         I. BACKGROUND

         At the age of 19, Trevon Barcus had sex with a 12-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated sexual battery in a Tennessee court. Because of this conviction, Barcus spent three years in prison, is subject to "community supervision for life" under Tennessee law, and is required to register as a sex offender under SORNA.

         Soon after his release from prison, Barcus cut off his ankle monitoring bracelet and fled to Texas after "meeting some girls." He returned to Kentucky, but still failed to register as required and was ultimately arrested. After his arrest, Barcus pleaded guilty to failing to register as ...


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