In America, freedom is not only cherished and appreciated, but expected. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly — these are rights bestowed upon every American and they do not expire.
But what good is freedom if a man can’t come home from a hard day’s work — or from checking in with his probation officer — and enjoy a nice cold case of beer?
Now some of us may take the right for granted, but The Man is trying to strip that small slice of star-spangled independence from Daniel Jackson of West Virginia, and Jackson isn’t going to stand for it.
In an unpublished Aug. 30 opinion, Jackson notched a small victory when the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s decision to prohibit the 29-year-old, fresh out of federal prison for child pornography convictions, from possessing or consuming alcohol.
Before being freed from custody after serving his 70-month sentence, Jackson filed a motion seeking to remove a stipulation of his 10-year supervised release forbidding the “excessive use” of alcohol. After all, what good is being released from the penitentiary when you can’t go home and guzzle beer without boundary?
Well, the court did modify the release conditions, but it did not OK limitless libations. Rather, it created a one-man dry county by mandating that Jackson steer clear of any alcohol use or possession whatsoever. Jackson appealed, arguing that the court couldn’t modify the conditions of his release without a hearing, and the 4th Circuit agreed.
Pursuant to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the court wrote: “Jackson did not waive his right to a hearing and the modification was more restrictive and thus not favorable to Jackson. The court was therefore obligated to hold a hearing prior to modifying the conditions of Jackson’s supervised release.”
With the case remanded and Jackson proceeding pro se, exactly what’s next in the plight of the parched patriot remains to be seen.
But for now, to all of us who value drinking ourselves cockeyed more than getting our lives in order, raise your tall cans.