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United States v. Liton

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

June 8, 2017



          JOHN ANTOON II United States District Judge.

         The United States Probation Office has filed a petition to modify the conditions of Mohammed Ali Liton's supervised release to impose restrictions greater than those originally ordered by the sentencing judge. (Doc. 5), The Court held a hearing on the petition on April 20, 2017. (See Mins., Doc. 9). Because the originally-imposed conditions are sufficient to accomplish the purposes of supervised release, the petition will be denied.

         I. Background

         On January 8, 2008, a jury in the Northern District of Florida returned a verdict finding Liton guilty of attempted enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b). Using the Internet, Liton engaged in conversations with an FDLE agent posing as a fourteen-year-old girl. During those conversations, Liton solicited the person he believed to be a minor to have sex with him. At the time of the offense, Liton was 26 years old. The court sentenced Liton to 120 months in prison followed by ten years' supervised release.

         The sentencing court imposed standard conditions of supervised release and some special conditions. Two of those special conditions were:

The defendant shall not possess []or have under his control any material that depicts sexual activities with minors. The defendant shall provide the probation officer access to his personal or home computer, including that of family members within his residence, for the specific purpose of identifying any material or communications that involve sexual activity with minors.
The defendant shall submit to a search of his person, property, house, residence, vehicle, papers, computer, other electronic communication or data storage devices or media, and effects at any time, with or without a warrant, by any law enforcement or probation officer with reasonable suspicion concerning unlawful conduct or a violation of a condition of probation or supervised release, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 3563(b)(23) and 3583(d).

(Doc. 2 at 8 & 9). These conditions are routinely imposed in child enticement cases in the Northern District, and notably they do not preclude Liton from using a computer that can access the Internet.

         On June 30, 2016, Liton was released from prison and began his term of supervised release. Before his release, Liton requested that his supervision be transferred to the Middle District of Florida, where he intended to live and work. Although transfer of jurisdiction was not formally accepted until December 14, 2016, the Probation Office in the Middle District began supervising Liton upon his June 30 release. The probation officer met with Liton and informed him that he wanted to add to the terms of Liton's supervised release two conditions that are typically imposed in the Middle District of Florida- polygraph testing and a prohibition on accessing the Internet without approval of the probation officer. Liton's probation officer instructed him not to use the Internet, and the original conditions require Liton to follow the instructions of his probation officer.

         By all accounts, throughout the almost one year that Liton has been on supervised release, he has complied with all of the originally imposed conditions and has followed his probation officer's instructions. He has also maintained a stable residence and engaged in full-time employment at a dental lab. Liton is currently seeking readmission to the University of Central Florida to complete the masters of business administration program he was attending when arrested, but he could not (without violating the instructions of his probation officer) submit his application because the school requires all applications to be submitted online.

         Liton refused to agree to his probation officer's suggested formal modification of the terms of his supervised release, and consequently, on April 12, 2017, the Probation Office filed its petition to modify the conditions of supervised release. The proposed modified conditions specify:

Without prior written approval of the probation officer, you are prohibited from either possessing or using a computer (including a smart phone, a hand-held computer device, a gaming console, or an electronic device) capable of connecting to an online service or an internet service provider. This prohibition includes a computer at a public library, an internet cafe, your place of employment, or an educational facility. Also, you are prohibited from possessing an electronic data storage medium (including a flash drive, a compact disk, and a floppy disk) or using any data encryption technique or program. If approved to possess or use a device, you must permit routine inspection of the device, including the hard drive and any other electronic data storage medium, to confirm adherence to this condition. The United States Probation Office must conduct the inspection in a manner no more intrusive than necessary to ensure compliance with this condition. If this condition might affect a third party, including your employer, you must inform the third party of this restriction, including the computer inspection provision.
You shall participate and submit to polygraph testing for monitoring purposes. You shall follow the probation officer's instructions regarding the implementation of this court directive. Further, you shall contribute to the costs of such polygraphs not to exceed an amount determined reasonable by the probation officer based on ability to pay or availability of third party payment and in conformance with the Probations Office's Sliding Scale for Treatment Services.

(Doc. 5 at 1-2). Liton now agrees to the second proposed modification requiring that he submit to polygraph examination, and the Court has already entered an Order (Doc. 12) adding that condition. But Liton continues to object to the first ...

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