U.S. v. Albertson, No. 09-1049 (3d Cir. May 4, 2011)
Albertson pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography. The Middle District of Pennsylvania sentenced him to five years in prison and 20 years of supervised release with eight special conditions. Albertson appealed his sentence to the Third Circuit.
He challenged the reasonableness of his 20-year supervised release and–only in his reply brief–challenged three of his special conditions: association-with-minors restriction, internet restriction, and mandatory computer monitoring.
Initially, the Third Circuit considered if Albertson waived his special condition arguments. Acknowledging that the circuit lacked explicit standards for what would qualify as an extraordinary circumstance exception to the waiver rule, the Court adopted the First Circuit’s approach. Applying the First Circuit’s In re Kane factors, the Third Circuit concluded that Albertson’s arguments were not waived.
Turning to the merits of the case, the Third Circuit affirmed the restriction on Albertson’s association with minors concluding that enough evidence in the record supported this restriction. It also affirmed his 20-year supervised release.
In vacating and remanding Albertson’s internet restriction, the Third Circuit found that barring internet use without prior written approval of a probation officer is overbroad when it was not used as an instrument of harm. It also remanded the mandatory monitoring requirement to be revised accordingly.