As corrected September 24, 2014.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO. Hon. Daniel R. Domínguez, U.S. District Judge.
DISMISSED IN PART, VACATED IN PART, AND REMANDED.
Liza L. Rosado-Rodríguez, Research and Writing Specialist, with whom Hé ctor E. Guzmá n-Silva, Federal Public Defender, and Hé ctor L. Ramos Vega, Assistant Federal Public Defender, were on brief, for appellant.
Juan Carlos Reyes-Ramos, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney, and Nelson Pérez-Sosa, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief, Appellate Division were on brief, for appellee.
Before Torruella, Baldock,[*] and Thompson, Circuit Judges.
THOMPSON, Circuit Judge.
Defendant Juan José Santiago was sentenced to twelve
months in prison and ten years' supervised release after pleading guilty to one
count of failing to register as a sex offender. The terms of Santiago's
supervised release included a series of special sex offender conditions, which
he now seeks to vacate. There is merit to some, but not all, of Santiago's
claims of error. In short, while a waiver of appeal serves to defeat the bulk of
Santiago's challenges, we vacate one of the conditions of supervised release,
which was imposed in Santiago's absence.
I. The Start of Things
Santiago's story, inasmuch as it is relevant to this appeal, begins over a decade ago in Florida. On March 19, 2002, a Mulberry, Florida police detective responded to a hospital emergency room for the reported rape of a seven-year-old girl. The girl's mother, who was Santiago's girlfriend at the time, told the detective that the girl had said that " her daddy," referring to Santiago, " had touched her privates."  Two days later, the girl was interviewed by the Florida Department of Health's Child Protection Team. She told them that " her daddy would take her and his pants off, would get on top of her and move around like in the movies she had seen with him" and that " he touched and licked her privates." Santiago's girlfriend confirmed that there were two pornographic videos in the couple's night stand and consented to a search, which turned up both videos. Santiago was arrested.
Santiago was charged, under Florida law, with one count of sexual battery on a person less than twelve years of age, and one count of lewd molestation. The sexual battery charge was later reduced to child abuse. Santiago pleaded nolo contendere to both the lewd molestation and the child abuse charge. On July 19, 2002, Santiago was sentenced to five years of probation for the child abuse charge, and ten years of probation for the lewd molestation charge, to be served concurrently. Pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), 42 U.S.C. § 16913, Santiago was required to register as a sex offender, and keep his registration
current, in all jurisdictions where he resided.
Over the next couple of years, Santiago repeatedly had trouble abiding by the terms of his probation. First, in July 2003, Santiago missed his court ordered curfew; an arrest warrant was issued, but later withdrawn. A year or so later, in September 2004, Santiago moved from his approved residence to another residence without prior permission from his probation officer, and failed to pay his monthly cost of supervision. Santiago admitted to the violations, and served forty-five days in county jail. Upon release, his probation was restored.
The stint in county jail did little to improve Santiago's compliance. Shortly after his release, in November 2004, an arrest warrant issued because Santiago had failed to register as a sex offender, neglected to report to the probation office, and had not paid court costs. A few weeks later, Santiago's probation officer reported additional violations: Santiago had once again moved from his approved residence without prior approval, had failed to successfully complete his sex offender treatment program, and had failed to pay court costs and restitution.
Having exhausted the system's goodwill, Santiago had his probation revoked on August 11, 2005. He was sentenced to just over seven years in Florida state prison for the child abuse charge, and five years for the lewd molestation charge, to be served concurrently. Santiago was released from prison on November 21, ...