In United States v. Talley, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that when a defendant absconds during a term of supervised release, the period of supervised release is not tolled.
In 2018, Talley began a three-year period of supervised release following his term of imprisonment. Four months before his period of supervised release was set to end, however, the probation office filed a petition for revocation alleging that Talley had violated two of the conditions of his release. An arrest warrant was issued on that petition in January 2021.
Nevertheless, Talley was not arrested until May 2022, after he was arrested for battery on state charges in Florida. At that point, the probation office filed a superseding petition for revocation that included Talley’s new battery charge as an additional ground for revocation. One of the original grounds for revocation was later dismissed, but the district court adjudicated Talley guilty of violating the conditions of his supervised release.
The problem, however, was that Talley’s term of supervised release ended in May 2021—a year before his arrest on the state battery charge. The district court found that because Talley had absconded—by not checking in with his probation officer—the period of supervised release had tolled. This meant that even though Talley’s supervised release should have ended one year before the state battery charge, the supervised release period was legally still in effect at the time of the battery charge.
On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit disagreed. The Eleventh Circuit joined the position of the First Circuit Court of Appeals and held that absconding while on supervised release does not toll the term of supervised released due to the defendant’s fugitive status. This conflicts with the position taken by the Second, Third, Fourth, and Ninth Circuits. The Eleventh Circuit held that there was no legal basis for tolling in the text of the relevant statutes and that the justifications for tolling when applied to prison escapees do not apply to someone who has absconded from supervised releasee.