United States v. Johnson, 529 U.S. 53, 3 (2000)

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Cite as: 529 U. S. 53 (2000)

Opinion of the Court

and on one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, 922(g). He received a sentence of 171 months' imprisonment, consisting of three concurrent 51-month terms on the 841(a) and 922(g) counts, to be followed by two consecutive 60-month terms on the 924(c) counts. In addition, the District Court imposed a mandatory 3-year term of supervised release for the drug possession offenses. See 21 U. S. C. 841(b)(1)(C) (1994 ed., Supp. III). The Court of Appeals, though otherwise affirming respondent's convictions and sentence, concluded the District Court erred in sentencing him to consecutive terms of imprisonment for the two 924(c) firearm offenses. United States v. Johnson, 25 F. 3d 1335, 1337-1338 (CA6 1994) (en banc). On remand the District Court modified the prisoner's sentence to a term of 111 months.

After our decision in Bailey v. United States, 516 U. S. 137 (1995), respondent filed a motion under 28 U. S. C. 2255 to vacate his 924(c) convictions, and the Government did not oppose. On May 2, 1996, the District Court vacated those convictions, modifying respondent's sentence to 51 months. He had already served more than that amount of time, so the District Court ordered his immediate release. His term of supervised release then went into effect. This dispute concerns its length.

In June 1996, respondent filed a motion requesting the District Court to reduce his supervised release term by 2.5 years, the extra time served on the vacated 924(c) convictions. The District Court denied relief, explaining that pursuant to 18 U. S. C. 3624(e) the supervised release commenced upon respondent's actual release from incarceration, not before. Granting respondent credit, the court observed, would undermine Congress' aim of using supervised release to assist convicted felons in their transitions to community life.

A divided Court of Appeals reversed. 154 F. 3d 569 (CA6 1998). The court accepted respondent's argument that his


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