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United States v. Nixon

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

October 17, 2016

United States of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Alan David Nixon, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and Submitted October 7, 2016 Pasadena, California

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California James V. Selna, District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 8:12-cr-00240-JVS-10

          Marri Derby (argued), Newport Beach, California, for Defendant-Appellant.

          Kevin M. Lally (argued), Chief, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Section; Lawrence S. Middleton, Chief, Criminal Division; Eileen M. Decker, United States Attorney; United States Attorney's Office, Los Angeles, California; for Plaintiff-Appellee.

          Before: Stephen S. Trott, John B. Owens, and Michelle T. Friedland, Circuit Judges.

         SUMMARY[*]

         Criminal Law

         Affirming the district court's denial of a motion for modification of the conditions of probation, the panel held that a congressional appropriations rider that prohibits the Department of Justice from using certain funds to prosecute individuals for engaging in conduct permitted by state medical marijuana laws does not impact the ability of a federal district court to restrict the use of medical marijuana as a condition of probation.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM

         We must decide whether a congressional appropriations rider that prohibits the Department of Justice from using certain funds to prosecute individuals for engaging in conduct permitted by state medical marijuana laws impacts the ability of a federal district court to restrict the use of medical marijuana as a condition of probation. We hold that it does not.

         I.

         Defendant-Appellant Alan David Nixon pled guilty to aiding and abetting the maintenance of a drug-involved premise in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 856(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2(a). The district court sentenced Nixon to a three-year term of probation. As a condition of probation, the district court required that Nixon refrain from unlawful use of a controlled substance and submit to periodic drug testing.

         After Nixon had served approximately one year of his probationary term, Congress enacted an omnibus appropriations bill that included the following rider:

None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States ...

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