United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. NYE, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
Ronald Lee Chaney pled guilty to two felony counts in 2015.
Count 1 was for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender and
Count 2 was for Assault on an Officer. The Court sentenced
Defendant on December 15, 2015, to two concurrent terms of 46
months of incarceration followed by two concurrent terms of
supervised release. On Count 1 supervised release was for 5
years and on Count 2 supervised release was for 3 years.
terms of supervised release began on June 22, 2018, when she
was released from prison. She reported to the probation
office on June 25, 2018. On February 19, 2019, Chaney's
probation officer filed a Violation of Supervised Release
Report and an Amended Petition on Supervised Release. The
Court set a hearing on February 28, 2019. At the hearing the
Defendant expressed her intent to deny all allegations of
violations and the Court held an evidentiary hearing. The
Government called only the probation officer as a witness.
The Government also moved to admit eleven exhibits. The
parties stipulated to the admission of nine of the exhibits
and Chaney objected to the admission of two of the exhibits.
The Court took the objection under advisement but allowed the
probation officer to testify about the two non-stipulated
exhibits, contingent upon the admission or non-admission of
the those exhibits at a later time. The Defense then called
Chaney as a witness and moved to admit Exhibit A, to which
the Government stipulated.
close of the hearing the Court took the entire matter under
advisement, stating it would research the issue of admitting
the two exhibits and issue a written decision. Depending upon
the outcome of that decision, the Court would either order
Chaney released from custody and put back on supervised
release or bring Chaney back to Court and sentence her for
violating the terms of her supervised release.
Federal Rules of Evidence do not apply at a revocation
hearing. Additionally, defendants in a revocation hearing do
not enjoy the full panoply of constitutional protections
afforded to criminal defendants. Morrissey v.
Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 480 (1972). This is because a
revocation proceeding is not a criminal prosecution.
Gagnon v. Scarpelli, 411 U.S. 778 (1973). Therefore,
the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause, which grants
to criminal defendants the right to confront adverse
witnesses, does not apply to defendants in revocation
proceedings. However, the Court must balance the
Defendant's interest in his right to confrontation
against the Government's good cause for denying
confrontation. U.S. v. Simmons, 812 F.2d 561, 564
(9th Cir. 1987). In evaluating good cause, courts
look to both the difficulty and expense of procuring
witnesses and the reliability of the evidence. Id.
In evaluating the defendant's interest in his right to
confrontation, the Court should weigh that right under the
specific circumstances presented in the case. U.S. v.
Martin, 984 F.2d 308, 310 (9th Cir. 1993).
finding that defendant violated her terms and conditions must
be based on a preponderance of the evidence. The evidence
forming the basis of the finding must be “credible
evidence” and “verified facts” and cannot
stand on “erroneous information.”
Government alleges that Chaney had four types of violations:
(1) illegal drug use; (2) failure to comply with the
requirements of the Sex Offender Registration and
Notification Act; (3) failure to notify probation at least
ten days prior to any change in residence; and (4) failure to
perform a urine analysis on September 28, 2018. Each will be
Illegal Drug Use. The Government claims that
Chaney used methamphetamine on five separate occasions and
hydrocodone on one occasion. To support this claim, the
Government used the testimony of the probation officer and
submitted Exhibits 3 - 8, which were admitted by stipulation.
Exhibits 3 - 7 consisted of two pages, a Drug Test Report and
a Chain of Custody Form. Exhibits 3, 5, 6, and 7 showed test
results that were positive for methamphetamine. Exhibit 4
showed test results that were positive for hydrocodone.
Exhibit 8 was a one-page Chain of Custody Report without the
accompanying Drug Test Report. Except for Exhibit 8, which is
incomplete and therefore not relied upon by the Court, these
exhibits show by a preponderance of the evidence that Chaney
violated the terms and conditions of her supervised release
by using illegal drugs.
testified that she did not use illegal drugs and the test
results must have been false positives resulting from her
proper use of prescription medications. In support of her
position, she and her attorney spoke in general terms about
internet searches and FDA research that supports her position
that about 1% of the time metformin (a diabetes medication
used by Chaney) can produce a false positive on a
methamphetamine drug test. She further testified that she had a
prescription for hydrocodone; however, the only prescriptions
she ever showed to her probation officer were from 2016 or
signed several days after she tested positive for
hydrocodone. She never produced a prescription for
hydrocodone that covered the date she tested positive for
Chaney introduced Exhibit A, which is a letter from a Family
Nurse Practitioner. That letter gives the opinion that
Chaney's “supplements have ingredients that could
potentially give false positives for opiate use in a urine
analysis.” Although the Family Nurse Practitioner
stated that she also examined Chaney's prescription
medication, she did not suggest that they could potentially
give false positives for opiates or for methamphetamine.
Exhibit A may support the theory that Chaney's drug test
in Exhibit 4 was based on a false positive for hydrocodone or
opiate use, but it does nothing to rebut the other test
results for methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is not an
evidence without Exhibits 9 and 10 is sufficient to show by a
preponderance of the evidence that Chaney used illegal
substances. The Court finds that Exhibits 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7
are credible, reliable, and mostly unopposed. The testimony
by Chaney and the generalized statements by her counsel as to
the possibility that metformin could cause a false positive
for methamphetamine fails to adequately rebut ...