Marc J. Stein
U.S. Probation Officer
15600 Devonshire St., Suite 206
Granada Hills, CA 91344
June 12th, 1996
Dear Mr. Stein,
I'm writing to confirm my understanding of the conditions set by your office for successful completion of my supervised release.
I was released from custody on Tuesday, June 4th, and reported to you on Thursday, June 6th, at 3:00 p.m. During this initial meeting you discussed the standard conditions of supervised release with me, and then presented me with a letter reiterating some of the special conditions imposed by The Court. We then discussed those conditions at some length.
The Court's order prohibits me from owning any kind of identification without your prior approval. I asked your permission to obtain a drivers license, birth certificate, and social security card, and you granted it. Thank you.
The Court also prohibited me from owning or possessing a computer, or seeking employment that would allow me access to a computer, without your permission. You explained that The Court's use of the word "possession" was a reference to a legal principle called "constructive possession." As I understand it, your position is that under this principle I would be in possession of a computer if I am at a location in which I could possess it. By way of example, you stated that I was in possession of the computer in your office by virtue of the fact that I could reach over and take it. You also said that I was in possession of your desk and your filing cabinet. You were uncertain if I was in possession of the building in which we sat.
I asked you for permission to seek employment that would allow me access to computers. As you know, my employment history is good, but it consists entirely of computer work. This is the only area in which I have any marketable skills. You declined to give me permission, but suggested that the cash registers at McDonalds might be acceptable despite their computerized nature. You used a video rental store as an example of a work environment that would not be acceptable because of its high-tech equipment.
We then discussed the possibility of my returning to school to obtain a Bachelor's degree in computer science. For the first semester of school I would take only general education courses, and would therefore not have access to school computers. This was an idea I had been considering for some time, and you appeared supportive. You agreed that I could attend school full- time, and work part-time after school to make restitution payments. Before the expiration of my supervised release, I would sign an agreement calling for payment of any remaining restitution. A college degree would enable me to quickly obtain professional employment and meet my financial obligations.
Before I left your office, you granted me permission to use electronic typewriters, word-processors with no communications or data processing capabilities, and devices with embedded microprocessors, such as blenders and automobiles. Thank you.
On Monday, June 10th, I enrolled at [a local community college]. That afternoon you telephoned me at home and said that you had spoken with your supervisor and you wished to meet with me to "clarify" the special conditions we had discussed.
I met with you today, Wednesday, June 12th, in your office. At this time you told me that you had talked with your supervisor and that I would no longer be permitted to attend school full- time. You emphasized the importance of my paying the $70,000 restitution ordered by the court, i.e. "making the victims whole", and told me to obtain full-time employment. You also re-emphasized the importance of my not obtaining employment that would allow me computer access. You suggested that I should continue living with my parents so that I could dedicate my full income to restitution payments. If you were concerned with the impact my prolonged residency would have on my parents, who had been required (by you) to "temporarily" give up their home computer while I lived with them, you did not say so. You acknowledged that these new restrictions were a change from your earlier position.
Before the meeting ended you told me that I could still attend college part-time, but that you would not allow me to major in computer science while on supervision.
You ended the meeting on a cautionary note, warning me that there were outside agencies that would like to see me back in prison as quickly as possible. I asked if it was possible that such an agency had contacted your office, and you acknowledged that it was possible.
I trust this letter accurately summarizes our two meetings. Thank you for your continued help and guidance.
Kevin L. Poulsen