Submitted: June 10, 2019
from United States District Court for the Western District of
Arkansas - Texarkana
LOKEN, KELLY, and ERICKSON, Circuit Judges.
Eugene Puckett pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly
failing to register as a sex offender, in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 2250(a). The district court sentenced Puckett
to ten months' imprisonment followed by a five-year term
of supervised release. Puckett appeals, arguing that the
district court abused its discretion in imposing two special
conditions of supervised release, Special Condition Four and
Special Condition Five.
timely objected to the imposition of these special
conditions, so we review for an abuse of discretion.
United States v. Sherwood, 850 F.3d 391, 395 (8th
Cir. 2017). A district court's discretion to impose
conditions of supervised release is broad, so long as each
condition (1) is reasonably related to the sentencing factors
set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(1) and (a)(2)(B)-(D);
(2) involves no greater deprivation of liberty than is
reasonably necessary for the purposes set forth in §
3553(a)(2)(B)-(D); and (3) is consistent with any pertinent
policy statements issued by the United States Sentencing
Commission. 18 U.S.C. § 3583(d). "When crafting a
special condition of supervised release, the district court
must make an individualized inquiry into the facts and
circumstances underlying a case and make sufficient findings
on the record so as 'to ensure that the special condition
satisfies the statutory requirements.'" United
States v. Wiedower, 634 F.3d 490, 493 (8th Cir. 2011)
(quoting United States v. Curry, 627 F.3d 312, 315
(8th Cir. 2010) (per curiam)).
Condition Four, as announced by the district court at
sentencing, requires Puckett "to participate in a sex
offender treatment program if recommended by a mental health
professional and deemed necessary by [his] probation
officer." The court then clarified that "a mental
health professional has to say that [Puckett]
need[s]" the treatment before it would be
required. In its written judgment, the district court phrased
this condition somewhat differently; the judgment indicates
that Puckett "shall" participate in a treatment
program but later states that the program must be recommended
by the service provider and approved by his probation
officer. To the extent there is any conflict between the
district court's oral announcement of the special
condition at sentencing and its written judgment, the oral
sentence controls. See United States v. Foster, 514
F.3d 821, 825 (8th Cir. 2008).
district court did not abuse its broad discretion in
fashioning this condition. After conducting the required
individualized inquiry into the facts and circumstances of
Puckett's case, the district court concluded that Special
Condition Four was needed because the underlying convictions
that required Puckett to register as a sex offender were for
the attempted sexual abuse of his minor daughter. The
district court stressed that treatment would be required only
if it was deemed necessary by both Puckett's probation
officer and a mental health professional. The condition is
thus reasonably related to Puckett's history and
characteristics, § 3553(a)(1), and imposes no greater
liberty deprivation than is reasonably necessary to protect
the public and provide Puckett with needed mental health
treatment, § 3553(a)(2)(C)-(D).
contends that United States v. Scott, 270 F.3d 632,
636 (8th Cir. 2001), stands for the proposition that a
special condition of supervised release such as sex-offender
treatment must be reasonably related to the instant
conviction, rather than other sentencing factors. We
have never interpreted Scott as holding such. Later
cases have explained that a district court does not abuse its
discretion by imposing special conditions reasonably related
to the other sentencing factors identified in § 3583(d),
which include the defendant's history and characteristics
and the need to protect the public from further crimes.
See, e.g., United States v. James, 792 F.3d
962, 970-71 (8th Cir. 2015); United States v. Smart,
472 F.3d 556, 559 (8th Cir. 2006).
district court described Special Condition Five as
prohibiting Puckett from having any "direct unsupervised
contact with any minor under the age of 18 without the
written approval of [his] probation officer . . . ."
Again, to the extent there is any conflict between this
description and the written judgment-which does not limit the
condition to "direct" contact-the oral sentence
controls. See Foster, 514 F.3d at 825. Because this
condition affects Puckett's ability to contact his own
children, a constitutionally protected liberty interest, it
is subject to more careful scrutiny. United States v.
Hobbs, 710 F.3d 850, 853-54 (8th Cir. 2013).
"Despite the constitutional sensitivity of such
restrictions, we have repeatedly upheld conditions requiring
defendants to receive permission from a probation officer
before contacting their own children." Id. at
854; see, e.g., United States v.
Stelmacher, 891 F.3d 730, 733-35 (8th Cir. 2018). In
light of Puckett's prior convictions for attempted sexual
abuse of his minor daughter, the district court did not abuse
its discretion in imposing Special Condition Five.
"[R]equiring prior approval before a convicted sex
offender has contact with minors is a reasonable means of
ensuring that such contact remains appropriate," and
restricting Puckett's access to his children is
reasonable given that his prior convictions related to his
own minor daughter. United States v. Mickelson, 433
F.3d 1050, 1057 (8th Cir. 2006). The district court also
stressed its openness to modifying or rescinding the
condition in the future should circumstances warrant such
we affirm the judgment of the district court.
The Honorable Susan O. Hickey, Chief
Judge, United States District Court for the Western District