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United States v. Kopp

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

February 18, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MATHIAS THOMAS KOPP, Defendant-Appellant

Appeals from United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. D.C. Docket No. 1:12-cr-00269-RWS-JFK-1.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee (14-12408, 14-13521): Erin Sanders, Njeri B. Maldonado, Mary Christine Roemer, Suzette A. Smikle, Lawrence R. Sommerfeld, Sally Yates, U.S. Attorney's Office, Atlanta, GA.

For Mathias Thomas Kopp, Defendant - Appellant (14-12408, 14-13521): Nicole Kaplan, Stephanie A. Kearns, Federal Defender Program, Inc., Atlanta, GA.

Before WILLIAM PRYOR and JORDAN, Circuit Judges, and HAIKALA,[*] District Judge. Judge WILLIAM PRYOR, concurring.

OPINION

WILLIAM PRYOR, Circuit Judge:

These consolidated appeals require us to decide where venue lies for the prosecution of a sex offender who moved across state lines, but failed to update his registration, 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a), and whether the offender's sentence for violating the terms of his supervised release is substantively

Page 987

reasonable. After registering as a sex offender in the Northern District of Georgia, Mathias Kopp moved to Daytona Beach, Florida, where he failed to update his registration. A grand jury then indicted Kopp in the Northern District of Georgia for failure to register as a sex offender. Kopp moved to dismiss the indictment for improper venue, but the district court denied his motion. Kopp then conditionally pleaded guilty. Kopp later violated his supervised release, and the district court sentenced him to 16 months of imprisonment, which was six months above his Sentencing Guidelines range and four months below the statutory maximum. We affirm both the denial of Kopp's motion to dismiss his indictment and the sentence imposed following the revocation of his supervised release.

I. BACKGROUND

In 2002, a court in Hungary convicted Kopp for " Rape of an Individual Not Older Than Twelve." Kopp, who is an American citizen, requested a transfer under the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, Council of Europe, Art. 10, Mar. 21, 1983, 35 U.S.T. 2867. See 18 U.S.C. § 4105. After Kopp returned to the United States, the United States Parole Commission required him to serve his prison sentence of seven years, eight months, followed by a term of 36 months of supervised release, see 18 U.S.C. § 4106A.

While Kopp was still imprisoned, the Federal Bureau of Prisons certified him as a sexually dangerous person required to register as a sex offender under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, 42 U.S.C. § § 16901-16991. Kopp began his term of supervised release in the Northern District of Georgia. Kopp's probation officer directed him to complete a sex offender registration, id. § § 16911-16929, and Kopp updated his registration in Georgia until December 2011.

In 2012, Kopp removed the electronic monitoring device that he wore as a condition of his supervised release and left the halfway house in Georgia where he resided. About a month later, police officers encountered Kopp in Daytona Beach, Florida. Kopp gave them a false name and informed the police that he was living in a local homeless shelter. When the police later arrested Kopp for trespassing, he again asserted that he resided at a homeless shelter in Daytona Beach. Kopp never registered as a sex offender in Florida, nor did he inform authorities in Georgia that he was moving to Florida.

Kopp was taken to the Northern District of Georgia, where he was indicted for failure to register as a sex offender, 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a). Kopp moved to dismiss the indictment for improper venue. He argued that venue did not lie in Georgia because he failed to register in Florida, not Georgia. The district court denied the motion. Kopp signed a plea agreement but reserved the right to appeal the ruling about venue. The district court sentenced Kopp to 18 months of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release.

In October 2013, Kopp began his supervised release for his conviction for failing to register as a sex offender. As a condition of his release, he was required to remain in a halfway house, Dismas Charities. In December 2013, Kopp admitted that he failed to remain at Dismas Charities. For that violation, the district court sentenced him to a four month prison term followed by the remaining 26 months of supervised release. In March 2014, Kopp returned to Dismas Charities to continue his supervised release. In ...


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