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United States v. Harris

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

May 6, 2016

UNITED STATES of AMERICA,
v.
YONGDA H. HARRIS, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR EARLY TERMINATION OF PROBATION, MOTION TO MODIFY PROBATION CONDITIONS, AND RELATED MOTIONS

F. Dennis Saylor IV United States District Judge

Defendant Yongda Harris, now proceeding pro se, has filed several motions, including a motion to modify his probation conditions to allow him to travel to Japan (Docket No. 222), a motion for early termination of his probation (Docket No. 225), a motion to compel and subpoena evidence from the probation department (Docket No. 227), a renewed ex parte sealed motion to authorize funds for legal assistance (Docket No. 237), and four motions for a hearing (Docket Nos. 224, 228, 233, 240). After holding a hearing on April 28, 2016, the Court took the motions under advisement, and gave defendant an opportunity to file affidavits to supplement the record.

For the following reasons, defendant’s motions will be denied.

I. Background

In October 2012, defendant pleaded guilty to making a false statement on a customs form in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. In early 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California sentenced him to five years of probation. In July 2013, jurisdiction over defendant was transferred from the Central District of California to the District of Massachusetts pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3605.

All eight of defendant’s motions relate, at least in some respect, to his renewed request to travel to Japan in order to enroll in school. The Court denied a similar request on July 7, 2015, in a sealed memorandum and order. (Docket No. 112). The probation department objected to that request, as well as his present renewal of the request.

II. Analysis

A. Motion for Modification of Probation Conditions

Defendant has moved for a modification of his probation conditions to allow him to travel to Japan. (Docket No. 222). In its prior order denying defendant’s earlier request, the Court noted as follows:

Normally, a defendant’s efforts to pursue further education would be strongly encouraged by the Court. However, his case presents some unique concerns, arising out of the circumstances of his offense.
It is true, as defendant points out, that he was prosecuted for making a false statement in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, not for possession of contraband. Nonetheless, the items that were in his possession when he returned to the United States from China and Japan on October 5, 2012, were genuinely horrifying. Those items included, among other things, information concerning Rohypnol and other date-rape drugs; various items (such as masks, a blindfold, handcuffs, condoms, a bone saw, and body bags) that could be used for purposes of kidnapping, imprisonment, rape, or murder; a “large volume of Japanese anime and manga graphically depicting the rape, molestation, and in some case sexual torture of children”; a live-action movie “containing extremely graphic footage of the purported kidnapping, repeated gang rape, mutilation, and sexual torture of young girls, ” culminating in their murder; multiple publications “instructing how to kill people”; bookmarks to various websites depicting graphically violent images, or offering the sale of items for kidnapping, killing, or hiding evidence; documents about Japanese schools, including the schedules showing when children arrived and left; and a list of “approximately two dozen remote, vacant plots of land in Japan” with “notations about the proximity of each plot to different junior high and high schools” and “descriptions of the remoteness and isolation of each vacant plot.” . . .
The summer institute that defendant has proposed to attend is open to individuals 15 years and older, subject to certain conditions. Under the circumstances, the Court has serious concerns that defendant might pose a substantial danger to the community if he were permitted to travel to Japan.
The Court also notes that although defendant is currently in compliance, his initial adjustment to supervision was poor. The Court does not believe that defendant has demonstrated a degree of compliance over a sustained period of time that would support extended travel to Japan for nearly two years. While in Japan, he would not be subject to periodic home inspections and in-person assessments, and would essentially be unsupervised.

(July 7, 2015 Memorandum and Order at 1-2). The Court further indicated that it would permit defendant to renew his motion in one year, at which point the Court would consider whether ...


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