United States v. Aquino, No. 14-10360 (9th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Defendant challenged the district court’s finding that she lied to her probation officer when she denied using any “illicit drugs” (Standard Condition No. 3) and a special condition of supervised release that prohibits her from knowingly using or possessing any substance that she “believe[s] is intended to mimic” the effects of a controlled substance (Special Condition No. 9). The court concluded that there was insufficient evidence to uphold Standard Condition No. 3 because the government never demonstrated that defendant in fact lied when she denied consuming an “illicit drug,” as it never established that the variety of spice that she smoked contained a controlled substance. In this case, defendant cannot be punished because her probation officer asked the wrong question and the district court was also wrong to suggest that defendant’s failure to be more forthcoming was a “material omission.” The court also concluded that Special Condition No. 9's restriction was impermissibly vague because it could cover innocuous substances such as chocolate and coffee. Accordingly, the court vacated the sentence and remanded for resentencing.