United States v. Johnson, 529 U.S. 53, 5 (2000)

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  Next

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

Opinion of the Court

vised release or parole for another offense to which the person is subject or becomes subject during the term of supervised release. A term of supervised release does not run during any period in which the person is imprisoned in connection with a conviction for a Federal, State, or local crime unless the imprisonment is for a period of less than 30 consecutive days."

The quoted language directs that a supervised release term does not commence until an individual "is released from imprisonment." There can be little question about the meaning of the word "release" in the context of imprisonment. It means "[t]o loosen or destroy the force of; to remove the obligation or effect of; hence to alleviate or remove; . . . [t]o let loose again; to set free from restraint, confinement, or servitude; to set at liberty; to let go." Webster's New International Dictionary 2103 (2d ed. 1949). As these definitions illustrate, the ordinary, commonsense meaning of release is to be freed from confinement. To say respondent was released while still imprisoned diminishes the concept the word intends to convey.

The first sentence of 3624(e) supports our construction. A term of supervised release comes "after imprisonment," once the prisoner is "released by the Bureau of Prisons to the supervision of a probation officer." Supervised release does not run while an individual remains in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons. The phrase "on the day the person is released," in the second sentence of 3624(e), suggests a strict temporal interpretation, not some fictitious or constructive earlier time. The statute does not say "on the day the person is released or on the earlier day when he should have been released." Indeed, the third sentence admonishes that "supervised release does not run during any period in which the person is imprisoned."

The statute does provide for concurrent running of supervised release in specific cases. After the operative phrase "released from imprisonment," 3624(e) requires the con-


Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007