Submitted: November 12, 2018
from United States District Court for the Southern District
of Iowa - Davenport
BENTON, BEAM, and ERICKSON, Circuit Judges.
ERICKSON, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
1993 and 2004 Arthur Jennings was incarcerated and served a
sentence for second degree sexual abuse of a minor under Iowa
state law. When released, Jennings was required to register
every three months with the Iowa Sex Offender Registry. In
2008, Jennings was convicted in state court for failing to
register as a sex offender. He was sentenced to probation and
ordered to be placed on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry for
life. In 2016, Jennings was charged under 18 U.S.C. §
2250 for failing to register as a sex offender after it was
discovered that he had not registered his latest address.
Jennings pled guilty and was sentenced to a
top-of-the-guideline range sentence of 30 months. At the
sentencing hearing, the district court imposed a
no-contact order restraining Jennings from unapproved
communication with his sister and adult son. Jennings now
appeals this special condition. Additionally, Jennings makes
an unpreserved claim that, because he was convicted of a sex
offense before the passage of the Sex Offense Registry and
Notification Act ("SORNA"), the retroactive
application violates the nondelegation doctrine. We affirm.
time of his sentencing, Jennings had been abusing drugs and
alcohol and was embroiled in a bitter domestic drama with his
adult family. The source of the tension was rooted in
Jennings's relationship with his son's ex-girlfriend,
Valerie Long. At sentencing Jennings was living with Long and
her two-year-old son. Jennings's son, Charles Spicer Sr.,
is the father of Long's son. At some point tensions
boiled over and Jennings made threatening comments to
Charles, as well as to Angelia, Jennings's sister.
Jennings ultimately pled guilty to third-degree harassment of
Charles in Iowa state court.
sentencing, the district court discussed imposing a
no-contact order restraining Jennings from initiating contact
with Charles, Angelia, and Jennings's estranged wife,
Darlene. The family dynamics of all involved are complex. At
the time of the hearing Angelia was an active user of
methamphetamine and cocaine. Charles had a history of
marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol abuse. Darlene appeared to be
a relatively stable person. While Jennings admitted to the
court that drugs and alcohol were central to many family
fights, he objected to the no-contact order as to all three
individuals. The district court eventually excluded Darlene
from the no-contact order because Jennings had been
corresponding with her from jail, and she had been helpful to
his recovery process and in discovering Christianity. The
condition at issue on appeal states:
You must not initiate communication with Angelia Jennings or
Charles Spicer Sr. (personal, electronic, mail, or otherwise)
without the prior approval of the U.S. Probation Officer. If
contact is approved, you must comply with any conditions or
limitations on this contact, as set forth by the U.S.
Probation Officer. Any unapproved direct contact must be
reported to the U.S. Probation Officer within 24 hours.
Special Condition of Supervised Release
a defendant properly objects at sentencing, we review special
conditions for abuse of discretion." United States
v. Deatherage, 682 F.3d 755, 757 (8th Cir. 2012) (citing
United States v. Stults, 575 F.3d 834, 850 (8th Cir.
2009)). "District courts are normally afforded wide
discretion in imposing terms of supervised release."
United States v. Heidebur, 417 F.3d 1002, 1004 (8th
Cir. 2005) (quoting United States v. Kent, 209 F.3d
1073, 1075 (8th Cir. 2000)).
18 U.S.C. § 3583(d), special conditions of a sentence
must "(1) be reasonably related to the nature and
circumstances of the offense, the defendant's history and
characteristics, the deterrence of criminal conduct, the
protection of the public from further crimes of the
defendant, and the defendant's educational, vocational,
medical or other correctional needs and (2) involve no
greater deprivation of liberty than is reasonably necessary
to advance deterrence, the protection of the public from
future crimes of the defendant, and the defendant's
correctional needs."United States v. Wilson, 709
F.3d 1238, 1240 (8th Cir. 2013) (cleaned up) (quoting
United States v. Crume, 422 F.3d 728, 732 (8th Cir.
challenges the no-contact order under both prongs. First, he
claims that the order is both unnecessary and without
evidentiary support. In support of this contention Jennings
points out that he objected to the consideration of the text
messages sent to Angelia, that they were not necessarily
threatening and were actually sent to a different sister.
Jennings fails to note, however, that the order is only
partially based on the alleged threats. The court made plain
during sentencing that the primary purpose of the condition
was to facilitate Jennings's rehabilitation from drugs
and alcohol. It is undisputed that Jennings had difficulty
maintaining sobriety, and the record shows that Jennings has
a long history of violent confrontations with family members,