New York Federal Criminal Practice Blog
September 11, 2008

"Exemplary Law-Abiding Behavior" Leads SDNY Judge to Grant Request for Early Termination of Supervised Release

As the Supreme Court pointed out in Gall v. United States, 28 S.Ct. 586, 595 (2007), probation is no cake walk (probationers are “subject to several standard conditions that substantially restrict their liberty”).  So Harold Rentas got an early holiday gift when SDNY Judge Marrero granted his request in United States v. Rentas, 01 cr 288, 2008 WL 4033512 (S.D.N.Y. August 25, 2008), for termination of his supervised release twenty months early.  It helped that the probation department did not object and the prosecutor took no position, but most persuasive were the facts that while on release, Rentas had maintained steady employment, married, successfully completed outpatient drug treatment, never testified positive for drugs, never been arrested and complied in full with all of his probation officer’s directions.  In short, the court concluded “Rentas’s exemplary law-abiding behavior demonstrates ‘changed circumstances’ that warrant a reduction of the terms of supervised release.” 

The case is a welcome antidote to the otherwise remarkably punitive trend in federal sentencing, and of course, may be cited as a precedent for a non-custodial sentence in cases where the defendant has adhered to extraordinarily law-abiding behavior post-arrest. 

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