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United States v. Bodybuilding.com, LLC

United States District Court, D. Idaho

June 9, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
BODYBUILDING.COM, LLC, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Pending before the Court is Bodybuilding.com's Motion for Early Termination of Probation (Dkt. 27). Having reviewed the Motion along with Bodybuilding.com's Memorandum in Support (Dkt. 35) as well as the Government's Response (Dkt. 39), the Court finds that the parties have adequately identified the issues and that a hearing is not necessary. Following that review, the Court enters the following Order denying the Motion without prejudice.

BACKGROUND

Bodybuilding.com pled guilty pursuant to a plea agreement to five counts of Introduction and Delivery for Introduction of Misbranded Drugs into Interstate Commerce. On August 2, 2012, the Court imposed concurrent sentences of four years of probation on each count. After serving nearly three years, Bodybuilding.com now seeks to have the remainder of its probation terminated.

Bodybuilding.com argues that early termination of probation is appropriate for three reasons. First, Bodybuilding.com claims that it has fully complied with the terms of its probation. Second, it has implemented compliance policies and procedures beyond those required by the terms of its probation. Third, Bodybuilding.com asserts that requesting early termination does not violate the plea agreement.

In contrast, the Government opposes early termination. The Government notes that complying with the terms of probation is not exceptional and should be expected of any probationer. In addition, they contend that Bodybuilding.com's probation may have been a significant motivating factor in its decision to create additional compliance mechanisms and that continuing probation imposes only a minimal burden on Bodybuilding.com. As a result, terminating probation would remove a significant incentive for Bodybuilding.com to create and continue compliance measures. Finally, the Government argues that Bodybuilding.com's Motion violates the spirit of the plea agreement since Bodybuilding.com agreed to recommend a four-year probation term at sentencing.

LEGAL STANDARD

The Court has the discretion to terminate a term of probation at any time in the case of a misdemeanor conviction if, after considering the factors listed in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), the Court concludes that early termination is warranted by the defendant's conduct and the interest of justice. 18 U.S.C. § 3564(c). The factors to be considered are: (1) the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant; (2) the need for the sentence imposed to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, and to provide punishment for the offense; (3) deterrence; (4) protection of the public; (5) the need to provide the defendant with educational, vocational training, medical care or other rehabilitation; (6) the kinds of sentences available; (7) the sentence and sentencing range established for the category of defendant; (8) any pertinent policy statement by the Sentencing Commission; (9) the need to avoid unwarranted sentence disparities among defendants with similar records who have been found guilty of similar conduct; and (10) the need to provide restitution to any victims of the offense. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 3553(a)(1), (a)(2)(A), (a)(2)(B), (a)(2)(C), (a)(2)(D), (a)(3), (a)(4), (a) (5), (a)(6), and (a)(7).

As both parties have noted, courts have rarely had the opportunity to decide motions for early termination of probation. However, courts frequently decide motions for early termination of supervised release. Both Bodybuilding.com and the Government reference these cases, and the Court agrees with other district courts in the Ninth Circuit which have concluded that cases addressing § 3553(a) factors on motions for early termination of supervised release are helpful in determining whether early termination of probation is warranted as required by § 3564(c). See e.g., U.S. v. Hilton, 2014 WL 3728176, *2 (N.D.Cal. 2014).

ANALYSIS

1. Early termination of probation is not appropriate when considering the relevant § 3553(a) factors.

The Court has considered all of the pertinent § 3553(a) factors and makes ...


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