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United States v. Stelmacher

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

June 5, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff- Appellee,
v.
Daniel Stelmacher, Defendant-Appellant.

          Submitted: January 8, 2018

          Appeal from United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa - Cedar Rapids

          Before WOLLMAN, COLLOTON, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.

          COLLOTON, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Daniel Stelmacher pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm as an unlawful user of a controlled substance, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3). The district court[1]sentenced him to 31 months' imprisonment and three years of supervised release. The district court imposed several conditions of supervised release and twice revoked Stelmacher's supervised release based on violations. Stelmacher appeals the court's imposition of two conditions that limited his freedom to have contact with his minor daughter and the daughter's mother. We conclude that the conditions were reasonably related to the relevant sentencing factors and were reasonably necessary restrictions on Stelmacher's liberty, so we affirm.

         I.

         As part of Stelmacher's sentence in August 2012, the district court imposed a term of supervised release and ordered Stelmacher to comply with several standard conditions of supervision. One standard condition forbade Stelmacher to associate with convicted felons without prior permission from a probation officer.

         The court also imposed special conditions based on Stelmacher's prior conviction in 2007 for fourth-degree sexual assault involving a minor. One condition prohibited "contact with children under the age of 18 (including through letters, communication devices, audio or visual devices, visits, electronic mail, the Internet, or any contact through a third party) without the prior written consent of the probation office." At the time of sentencing, Stelmacher had no children. In the event that he were to father or adopt children, however, the special condition also specified that the "U.S. Probation Office shall work with the defendant and the defendant's family to set up supervised communications and visits with the defendant's biological and legally adopted children."

         While Stelmacher resided at a halfway house in 2014 before beginning his term of supervised release, he met a convicted felon named Hannah Walton and began a romantic relationship. Stelmacher and Walton conceived a daughter who was born in March 2015. These developments set up a conflict between Stelmacher's personal life and the aforementioned conditions of supervised release.

         Stelmacher began his term of supervision in January 2015. Soon after, Stelmacher violated several conditions of release; two violations were based on unapproved contact with Walton, a convicted felon, and with his minor daughter. He also failed to participate in substance abuse testing, failed to answer a probation officer's inquiries truthfully, and consumed alcohol.

         The court revoked Stelmacher's supervised release and sentenced him to eight months' imprisonment and two years of supervised release. The court reimposed the special condition that prohibited unsupervised contact with minor children, and imposed a new special condition prohibiting Stelmacher from having any direct or indirect contact with Walton.

         Stelmacher began his second term of supervised release in December 2016. While on supervision, Stelmacher moved for modification of the two special conditions relating to Walton and minor children. He also contacted the probation office to request contact with his daughter. The probation office was in the process of arranging supervised visitation with the daughter when Stelmacher again violated the terms of his release. Stelmacher also was scheduled for a sex offender program intake assessment and polygraph testing on January 31, 2017, but he was unable to keep the appointment after he was arrested for the supervised release violations.

         In February 2017, the court held a revocation hearing to consider both the most recent alleged violations and the motion to modify the special conditions. Stelmacher admitted that he committed seven different violations of his conditions of supervision between January 18 and January 20, including unauthorized contact with Walton and his daughter. The court denied Stelmacher's motion for modification and sentenced him to 10 months' imprisonment and one year of supervised release. The court reimposed the same special ...


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