RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Louisiana General Assembly
DOCKET NO.: 89-7370
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1990-1991)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
CITATION: 498 US 395 (1991)
ARGUED: Oct 30, 1990
DECIDED: Feb 19, 1991
Amy L. Wax - on behalf of the Respondent
Peter Goldberger - on behalf of the Petitioner
Facts of the case
Media for Gozlon-Peretz v. United StatesAudio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 30, 1990 in Gozlon-Peretz v. United States
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 19, 1991 in Gozlon-Peretz v. United States
Anthony M. Kennedy:
The second case is Gozlon-Peretz versus the United States No. 89-7370.
Between 1984 and 1987, congress enacted or changed various statutes to increase the severity of criminal sentences for drug offenders and to reform the criminal sentencing process in general.
One of these changes was to move to a new concept for court supervision in monitoring after a sentence has been served.
Under the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, congress adapted the system called supervised release to replace the earlier system which have been called special parole.
Supervised release required a Sentencing Court rather than the United States Parole Commission to oversee a defendants behavior and adjustment after being released from custody.
Supervised release gave the Sentencing Court greater powers and responsibilities in this post-confinement period.
So the courts and court officials would have time to prepare for the change, the provisions for supervised release in the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 did not become effective until 1987.
The problem we confront in this case on certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is this, during the interim period before the Sentencing Reform Act took effect congress enacted another statute, the Anti-drug Abuse Act of 1986.
The Anti-drug Abuse Act requires terms of supervised release for most drug offenders, but it does not provide an exquisite effective date for its relevant provisions.
The petitioner who committed his offense during this interim period argues that because the Sentencing Reform Act, with its basic definition of supervised release, did not become effective until 1987, the ADAA's provision for supervised release likewise were not effective until that time.
So, he argues that he is not subject to special parole or perhaps not subject to post-confinement monitoring at all.
We must interpret the Anti-drug Abuse Act of 1986 to determine whether its provisions for supervised release apply in this interim period.
We hold that they do.
When the ADAA was enacted, it is true that the Sentencing Reform Act was not operational, but it had been adapted by the congress and signed by the President.
It had all of the weight and dignity of a statute and the reasonable assumption is that when congress had passed the ADAA and used the term supervised release, it knew its full definition and meaning and legislative with reference to it.
Courts may refer to enact it, but yet effective legislation to interpret statutory terms if the legislature intends to reference.
In this case, we believe the legislature did have that intention.
Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals holding that supervised release is applicable in this case.
The opinion is unanimous.