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United States v. Jones

United States District Court, District of Columbia

September 28, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ALBERT P. JONES Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OF FINDINGS OF FACT AND STATEMENT OF REASONS IN SUPPORT OF ORDER OF DETENTION

DEBORAH A. ROBINSON United States Magistrate Judge

I. INTRODUCTION

Defendant is charged by indictment with unlawful possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C); unlawful possession with intent to distribute heroin, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C); unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a person convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1); and using, carrying, and possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking offense, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1). The undersigned conducted a detention hearing on September 14, 2015. Upon consideration of the proffers and arguments of counsel, and the entire record herein, the undersigned ordered Defendant held without bond pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e). The findings of fact and statement of reasons in support of the Order of Detention follow.

II. THE BAIL REFORM ACT

The Bail Reform Act of 1984, 18U.S.C. § 3141, et seq., provides, in pertinent part, that if a judicial officer finds by clear and convincing evidence that "no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure ... the safety of any other person and the community, such judicial officer shall order the detention of the [defendant] before trial." 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e); see also United States v. Henry, 935 F.Supp. 24, 25 (D.D.C. 1996) (citation omitted) ("If a defendant poses a danger to society, the Court has a sufficient basis upon which to order pretrial detention.").

In instances in which pretrial detention is sought on the ground that there are no conditions of release that will reasonably assure the defendant's appearance, the government must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant poses a risk of flight if released before trial. See United States v. Anderson, 382 F.Supp.2d 13, 14 (D.D.C. 2005) (citations omitted) ("[T]he [Bail Reform Act] provides for pretrial detention if the government establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is likely to flee before trial if released and that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant as required.").

In determining whether there are conditions of release which will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required, and the safety of any other person and the community, the judicial officer shall take into account the available information concerning: (1) the nature and circumstances of the offense charged; (2) the weight of the evidence against the defendant; (3) the defendant's history and characteristics; and (4) the nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or to the community which would be posed by the defendant's release. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g).

A rebuttable presumption that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of the community if the judicial officer finds that there is probable cause to believe that the person committed an offense under the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 801, et seq., for which a maximum period of incarceration often years or more is prescribed. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)(3)(A). An indictment is sufficient to establish probable cause for purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e). See United States v. Williams, 903 F.2d 844, 844 (D.C. Cir. 1990).

III. DISCUSSION

Both counsel for the government and counsel for Defendant proceeded by proffer. Counsel for the government argued that Defendant is a danger to the community and should be held without bond pending trial because he was arrested for the instant offenses while on release pending sentencing in Criminal No. 13-305-14 (Sullivan, J.), in which he pled guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with the Intent to Distribute a Detectable Amount of Cocaine Base. Counsel for the government proffered that in the instant action, firearms and drugs were found in Defendant's vehicle. Finally, counsel for the government proffered that Defendant has a criminal history of violence, including involuntary manslaughter in 1998, armed robbery in 1982, and assault with intent to commit armed robbery in 1981.

Defendant, through counsel, requested that he be released to the High Intensity Supervision Program. In support of his request, Defendant's counsel proffered Defendant's post-arrest statement that he was "set up" and the drugs and the guns were not his. Moreover, Defendant argued that he generally complied with the conditions of his release in 13-305-14, and that he never missed a court appearance. Defendant further proffered that he was working two jobs at the time of the arrest and he had been tested negative for illegal drugs. Defendant also pointed out that his prior convictions arose more than 17 years ago, and he became a different person since then.

The Pretrial Services Agency confirmed that Defendant had been tested negative for illegal substances since he was placed under its supervision. The Agency proffered that Defendant missed a total of five reported check-ins, and it recommended the removal of Defendant from his Pretrial Services program at the status hearing held before Judge Sullivan on September 10, 2015.

IV. FINDINGS OF FACT

Upon consideration of the factors enumerated in the Bail Reform Act of 1984, 18 U.S.C. ยง 3142(g), the undersigned finds by clear and convincing evidence that no condition of release or combination of conditions would reasonably assure the safety of the community. The undersigned further finds that the information proffered on behalf of Defendant is sufficient to ...


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