When U.S. District Judge Alan Nevas sentenced former State Senator Ernie Newton to 60 months of imprisonment in February of 2006 for pleading guilty to bribery, mail fraud and tax evasion it also included three years of federal supervised release following completion of incarceration under the authority of the U.S. Probation Department. Newton appeared well on his way to completing supervised release this summer, but that could change if the state charges leveled against Newton for alleged campaign finance irregularities hold up, and the Probation Department determines Newton violated conditions of his release. Is the state’s case against Newton strong? Or was he targeted by ambitious investigators?
In general a finding of a violation of supervised release may lead the court to (1) revoke supervision and impose a term of imprisonment, (2) extend the term of supervision, and/or (3) modify the conditions of supervision. Newton and his lawyer Darnell Crosland will be in close contact with the Probation Department as these state charges play out.
Now retired from the federal bench, Nevas was vocal in his distaste for Newton’s conduct and particularly offended by Newton’s declaration he was the “Moses of my people.” Nevas set forth a series of conditions–special and mandatory to go along with the standard conditions for supervised release.
A review of Nevas’ sentencing order obtained by OIB shows Nevas ordered the following special conditions for Newton that included:
1. The defendant shall participate in a program approved by the Probation Office for inpatient or outpatient substance abuse treatment and testing. The defendant shall pay all or a portion of the costs associated with treatment based on the defendant’s ability to pay as determined by the probation officer.
2. The defendant shall pay restitution in the amount of $13,862.00, payable at a rate of no less than $250.00 per month payable to State of Connecticut, c/o Elections Enforcement Commission. The monthly payment schedule may be adjusted based on the defendant’s ability to pay as determined by the probation officer and approved by the Court. The defendant shall pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service as negotiated and agreed upon and as reflected in the amended returns and revenue agent’s report. Any remaining balance is to be paid by the end of supervised release period.
Newton was required to satisfy condition 2 above to regain his voting privileges and run for public office. In the state of Connecticut persons convicted of a felony may vote, and thus may run for public office, provided they are not incarcerated and have satisfied all court-ordered fines and restitution.
Nevas also set forth Mandatory conditions of supervised release.
The defendant shall not commit another federal, state or local offense;
The defendant shall not unlawfully possess a controlled substance;
The defendant shall refrain from any unlawful use of a controlled substance and submit to one drug test within 15 days of release on supervised release and at least two periodic drug tests thereafter for use of a controlled substance;
The defendant shall cooperate in the collection of a DNA sample from the defendant.
The condition “The defendant shall not commit another federal, state or local offense” could be problematic for Newton if he does not defeat the state charges.
In addition Newton must adhere to these standard conditions:
(1) The defendant shall not leave the judicial district or other specified geographic area without the permission of the court or probation officer;
(2) The defendant shall report to the probation officer as directed by the court or probation officer and shall submit a truthful and complete written report within the first five days of each month;
(3) The defendant shall answer truthfully all inquiries by the probation officer and follow the instructions of the probation officer;
(4) The defendant shall support the defendant’s dependents and meet other family responsibilities (including, but not limited to, complying with the terms of any court order or administrative process pursuant to the law of a state, the District of Columbia, or any other possession or territory of the United States requiring payments by the defendant for the support and maintenance of any child or of a child and the parent with whom the child is living);
(5) The defendant shall work regularly at a lawful occupation unless excused by the probation officer for schooling, training, or other acceptable reasons;
(6) The defendant shall notify the probation officer at least ten days prior to any change of residence or employment;
(7) The defendant shall refrain from excessive use of alcohol and shall not purchase, possess, use, distribute, or administer any controlled substance, or any paraphernalia related to any controlled substance, except as prescribed by a physician;
(8) The defendant shall not frequent places where controlled substances are illegally sold, used, distributed, or administered, or other places specified by the court;
(9) The defendant shall not associate with any persons engaged in criminal activity, and shall not associate with any person convicted of a felony unless granted permission to do so by the probation officer;
(10) The defendant shall permit a probation officer to visit the defendant at any time at home or elsewhere and shall permit confiscation of any contraband observed in plain view by the probation officer;
(11) The defendant shall notify the probation officer within seventy-two hours of being arrested or questioned by a law enforcement officer;
(12) The defendant shall not enter into any agreement to act as an informer or a special agent of a law enforcement agency without the permission of the court;
(13) The defendant shall pay the special assessment imposed or adhere to a court-ordered installment schedule for the payment of the special assessment;
(14) The defendant shall notify the probation officer of any material change in the defendant’s economic circumstances that might affect the defendant’s ability to pay any unpaid amount of restitution, fines, or special assessments.