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United States of America v. Charles F. Murray

September 5, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
CHARLES F. MURRAY, APPELLANT



On Appeal from the District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (Nos. 2-11-cr-00051 and 2-11-cr- 00052) District Judge: Honorable Gary L. Lancaster

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Fuentes, Circuit Judge:

PRECEDENTIAL

Argued on March 27, 2012

Before: FUENTES, SMITH and JORDAN, Circuit Judges

OPINION OF THE COURT

In 2004 in the District of New Jersey, Charles Murray pleaded guilty to traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. Later that same year, in a separate case in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, he pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. For these offenses, he was sentenced to an aggregate term of 95 months‟ imprisonment, to be followed by concurrent three-year terms of supervised release. Both of Murray‟s sentencing judges imposed upon him various special conditions of supervised release that, for example, require him to register as a sex offender and to submit to unannounced searches of his computer.

After Murray was released from prison in July 2010, he moved to the Western District of Pennsylvania. That District thus assumed jurisdiction over him for the remainder of his term of supervised release. Though Murray had not violated his existing supervised release conditions, the Probation Office sought to modify them to bring them in line with the conditions of release that are typically used in the Western District. Some of the Probation Office‟s proposed conditions were duplicative of those already mandated by the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and District of New Jersey, but others were new. The District Court granted the Probation Office‟s request and imposed several new, more stringent conditions on Murray. Murray now appeals. For the reasons that follow, we will remand this case to the District Court.

I.

A.

In the spring of 2003, Murray made contact online with a 14 year-old boy and the two communicated via phone and instant message for several months. On two occasions in May 2003, Murray crossed state lines, picked up the boy, and took him to a private parking lot where they engaged in sexual acts. Although Murray insisted that the sex was consensual, the boy reported that he believed he did not have a choice. Thus, on April 1, 2004, Murray pleaded guilty to two counts of traveling in interstate commerce to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2423(b). The District Court for the District of New Jersey sentenced him to a term of 83 months‟ imprisonment for each count, to be served concurrently, followed by a three-year term of supervised release. Along with the standard conditions of supervised release, the District Court imposed some additional conditions.*fn1

In July 2003, during the course of their investigation of the New Jersey case, federal officers executed a search warrant at Murray‟s Pennsylvania residence. The officers seized computer equipment, and found approximately 184 images of child pornography. Thus, on November 5, 2004 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Murray pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B). The District Court sentenced Murray to 40 months‟ imprisonment, with 28 months to run concurrently to his New Jersey sentence and 12 months to run consecutively. In addition, it imposed a three-year term of supervised release, to run concurrently with the term of supervision imposed by the District of New Jersey. The Pennsylvania District Court also imposed some special conditions of supervised release.*fn2

B.

On July 2, 2010, Murray was released from prison and began his term of supervised release.*fn3 Murray relocated to a small city near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and in August and September 2010, jurisdiction over him for the remainder of his supervised release terms was transferred to the Western District of Pennsylvania. Though Murray had not violated or otherwise failed to comply with any of his existing supervised release conditions, the Probation Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania sought to modify those conditions "to reflect the language approved by the Court in the Western District of Pennsylvania relative to individuals convicted of similar offenses." App. 58. Some of the requested conditions were duplicative of those already mandated by the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey, but others were new. Among the Probation Office‟s proposed conditions were requirements that Murray:

1) participate in a mental health and/or sex offender treatment program and submit to polygraph testing to determine if he is in compliance with the conditions of his release;

2) register as a sex offender;

3) not possess any material depicting or describing sexually ...


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