Vagueness, as the word suggests, is inherently uncertain. This Note addresses the issues of vagueness presented by unclear supervised release conditions, as well as discusses the split of authority pertaining thereto. Specifically, the condition discussed throughout the Note prohibits defendants from frequenting places where controlled substances are illegally present. Because federal appellate courts differ as to the condition’s meaning and its application, the existing circuit split will be thoroughly discussed. The main issues with the condition demonstrate a lack of attentiveness and forethought of the sentencing judges that ultimately impose undue hardships onto the defendants wishing to enter back into society. Furthermore, due to the lack of clarity of the proscribed terms, defendants may be uncertain as to what behavior is permitted and what act may result in re-incarceration. Since the proscribed terms are subject to varying interpretations, the defendants subject to this condition may find it difficult to obey. This Note will argue that the imposition of vague supervised release conditions is contradictory to the rehabilitative purpose of supervised release, and will urge the sentencing courts to exercise greater caution when imposing terms of federal supervision. This will ensure that defendants are not subject to unclear terms that may be unintentionally violated.
Igor V. Bykov, CRIMINAL LAW—GIVE ME FREEDOM!: HOW AMBIGUOUS FEDERAL SUPERVISED RELEASE CONDITIONS UNDERMINE THE PURPOSE OF THE SENTENCING REFORM ACT, 43 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 189 (2022), https://digitalcommons.law.wne.edu/lawreview/vol43/iss2/1