In United States v. Work, No. 04-2172 (1st Cir. June 3, 2005) defendant-appellant argued "that the Sixth Amendment, as interpreted in Blakely v. Washington, 124 S. Ct. 2531 (2004), applies to the revocation of supervised release and the consequent imposition of additional prison time." More to the point, he argued that "when such a revocation leads to additional imprisonment above and beyond the top of the original guideline sentencing range, the facts underlying the revocation must be proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt."
The First Circuit rejected this argument, concluding that "appellant's argument is doubly flawed: it is premised not only on a misunderstanding of supervised release but also on an attempted importation of Sixth Amendment jury trial rights into an area in which they do not belong."
The difficulty with the appellant's argument is that this type of judicial factfinding does not pose a Sixth Amendment problem. The law is clear that once the original sentence has been imposed in a criminal case, further proceedings with respect to that sentence are not subject to Sixth Amendment protections. See Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 480 (1972) (holding that the "revocation of parole is not part of a criminal prosecution and thus the full panoply of rights due a defendant in such a proceeding does not apply"); see also Johnson v. United States, 529 U.S. 694, 700 (2000) (dealing with revocation of supervised release); Gagnon v. Scarpelli, 411 U.S. 778, 782 (1973) (dealing with revocation of probation). To be sure, the conversion of a less restrictive form of punishment, such as supervised release, to a harsher one, such as imprisonment, does entail a deprivation of liberty (albeit conditional liberty). As such, the accused must be accorded a suitable panoply of due process protections. See United States v. Correa-Torres, 326 F.3d 18, 22 (1st Cir. 2003); United States v. Sanchez, 225 F.3d 172, 175 (2d Cir. 2000). The process that is due, however, does not encompass the full sweep of the Sixth Amendment's prophylaxis (such as a right to a jury trial on the facts of the alleged violation). See Morrissey, 408 U.S. at 489; United States v. Czajak, 909 F.2d 20, 24 (1st Cir. 1990). Nor are facts required to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in such a proceeding. See DeWitt v. Ventetoulo, 6 F.3d 32, 37 (1st Cir. 1993). The appellant's argument that he was constitutionally entitled to such protections collapses under the weight of these authorities.
By like token, the district court did not commit Booker error in imposing the incremental prison term. While the Sixth Amendment does not apply in revocation hearings, a Booker error can occur even absent a Sixth Amendment violation if the sentencing court treats the federal sentencing guidelines as mandatory. See Antonakopoulos, 399 F.3d at 75. That being said, the portions of the sentencing guidelines dealing with revocation of supervised release are merely policy statements. See USSG §§7B1.1-7B1.5. Even before Booker, those guidelines were deemed advisory rather than mandatory. See United States v. O'Neil, 11 F.3d 292, 301 n.11 (1st Cir. 1993). They remain advisory to this date. Consequently, resort to them cannot constitute Booker error. See United States v. González-Mercardo, 402 F.3d 294, 303 (1st Cir. 2005) (describing nature of Booker error); Antonakopoulos, 399 F.3d at 75 (same).
While the Court had earlier in the opinion remarked that appellant's insistence in not attacking the fact that his sentence on supervised release revocation was rendered under a mandatory guidelines system may have fatally flawed his appeal, it is clear that the appeal was doomed anyway, given the holding that the guidelines dealing with revocation of supervised release are policy statements that were always deemed advisory, even before Booker.