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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

EASTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
AT KNOXVILLE

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA )
) No. 3:16-CR-20
v. )
) Judge Collier
MARK HAZELWOOD )

ORDER

Before the Court is a motion by Defendant Mark Hazelwood to extend his November 26,

2018 self-surrender deadline to January 7, 2019. (Doc. 749.) The United States (the

“Government”) responded in opposition (Doc. 751), and Defendant replied (Doc. 762). As both

parties note, allowing self-surrender is a benefit a court may grant in its discretion. See United

States v. Rainey, 480 F. App’x 842, 845 (6th Cir. 2012).

Defendant first argues his compliance with the terms of his pre-trial release and home

confinement warrants an extension of his self-surrender deadline. The Government renews the

argument on which it originally opposed any self-surrender for Defendant at all—that Defendant

is a flight risk, albeit controlled with conditions. Defendant’s reply argues the Government is

incorrect that he poses a more significant flight risk than his codefendants Scott Wombold and

Heather Jones, as to whom the Government did not object to a self-surrender date of January 7,

2019. According to Defendant, if he were going to flee, he would have done so already.

Defendant argues his devout Christian beliefs would make it very meaningful for him to

be able to spend time with his family over Christmas. The Government responds that the Bureau

of Prisons gives inmates of all faiths reasonable opportunities to practice their religions.

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Defendant next argues it would create a disparity to force him to report on November 26,

2019, when Wombold and Jones were convicted by the jury on the same date but are not required

to report until January 7, 2019. Although listed third, this appears to be the main impetus for

Defendant’s motion, as it is discussed in the brief factual background section of Defendant’s

motion. The Government argues that self-surrender is not part of a sentence and therefore cannot

create a sentencing disparity. The Government also argues that neither Wombold nor Jones have

the financial means or length of sentence that make Defendant a flight risk.

Fourth, Defendant argues he has already paid his over-Guidelines fine. The Government

responds that this is a sound financial decision by Defendant as it prevents the accrual of interest,

and that the fine had a negligible impact on Defendant’s net worth.

Upon Defendant’s conviction, the Court found he was a flight risk, but that there were

conditions that would reasonably assure his future appearance. (Docs. 497, 519.) Neither

Defendant’s continued compliance with those conditions, nor his timely payment of his fine, is

grounds for an extension of his self-surrender deadline. Nor has Defendant shown he has any

religious—as opposed to family—needs regarding Christmas that the Bureau of Prisons would not

be able to accommodate. If the Court attempted to set self-report dates that did not conflict with

any religious holidays, it would be unable to set any dates at all.1

As to Defendant’s desire to have the same self-report date as Wombold and Jones, the

Court rejects this argument. Different self-surrender deadlines do not create sentencing disparities,

and even if they did, the sentencing disparities a court must consider are nationwide, not those

1
Defendant asks to be allowed to remain free so that he can celebrate Christmas with his
family. But Easter, the most important Christian religious holiday, would come just a few short
months after Christmas.

2

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among co-defendants. In addition, there are differences between Defendant’s situation and those

of Wombold and Jones, respectively, that caused the Court to exercise its discretion in the manner

in which it did, including their conditions of release, the fact that their sentencing hearings came

after Defendant’s, the degrees to which they pose a risk of flight, and more individualized

considerations regarding their circumstances.

Considering Defendant’s motion as a whole, the Court is not persuaded it should alter its

previous rejection of Defendant’s request to delay his self-surrender deadline to early January

2019. The Court DENIES Defendant’s motion (Doc. 749).

SO ORDERED.

ENTER:

/s/
CURTIS L. COLLIER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

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