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United States v. Smith

United States District Court, District of Columbia

February 16, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JARED SMITH, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

BERYL A. HOWELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Pending before the Court is a motion filed by the defendant, Jared Smith, seeking reconsideration, under 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b), of the Magistrate Judge’s order of detention entered after a detention hearing. See Def.’s Mot. Set Bond (“Def.’s Mot.”) at 1, ECF No. 11; Det. Mem., ECF No. 10; Minute Entry, dated Feb. 5, 2016. Specifically, the defendant proposes his release pending trial on conditions that include residence with the retired parents of his fiancé, pretrial supervision by the U.S. Probation Office of the Northern District of California and electronic monitoring. Def.’s Mot. at 1; Rough Hr’g Tr. (Feb. 12, 2016) at 9- 10. For the reasons set forth below, this motion is denied.

I.BACKGROUND

Defendant Jared Smith was indicted on December 17, 2015, for one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing at least 50 grams of methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A)(viii). Indictment at 1, ECF No. 1.

According to the government’s proffer during the defendant’s initial detention hearing before Magistrate Judge Alan Kay, the defendant, who is a resident of California, allegedly acquired methamphetamine from suppliers in California, which he then distributed via mail to recipients in seven states and the District of Columbia. Det. Mem. at 1. In connection with this alleged distribution to over twenty individuals, the defendant allegedly received approximately $250, 000. Id. at 1-2.

Following his arrest in California on December 17, 2015, the defendant was ordered temporarily detained, at the government’s request, by Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson. Minute Entry, dated Jan. 12, 2016. Thereafter, following the parties’ multiple requests to continue the defendant’s subsequent detention hearing, Magistrate Judge Kay granted the government’s oral motion to detain the defendant pending trial on February 5, 2016, see Minute Entry, dated Feb. 5, 2016, which oral ruling was later supplemented by a written Detention Memorandum issued on February 9, 2016, see Det. Mem. Consequently, the defendant was ordered by Magistrate Judge Kay to be held without bond pending trial. Id. at 5.

The defendant thereafter, on February 10, 2016, filed the pending motion requesting his release pending trial on pretrial supervision, with electronic monitoring, in the Northern District of California. Def.’s Mot. at 1. The Court held a hearing on the motion on February 12, 2016, at which the defendant clarified that his fiancé’s parents, both of whom are retired attorneys who reside in San Diego, California, are prepared to assist in supervising the defendant during any period of his release before trial. Rough Hr’g Tr. (Feb. 12, 2016) at 9-10. According to the defendant, such supervision could be accomplished either in his hometown of Monterey, California, or alternatively, in San Diego. Id. at 6.

At the conclusion of the hearing, at which the Court heard from both the defendant and the government, the Court issued an oral ruling denying the defendant’s motion. See Minute Entry, Feb. 12, 2016. This Memorandum Opinion sets forth in further detail the basis for the Court’s ruling. See 18 U.S.C. § 3142(i)(1) (requiring that detention order “include written findings of fact and a written statement of the reasons for the detention”); see also United States v. Nwokoro, 651 F.3d 108, 109 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (noting that Bail Reform Act requires pretrial detention order be supported by “a clear and legally sufficient basis for the court’s determination” in written findings of fact and a written statement of the reasons for the detention or in “the transcription of a detention hearing”) (quoting United States v. Peralta, 849 F.2d 625, 626 (D.C. Cir. 1988)) (per curiam).

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A motion under 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b) for review of a Magistrate Judge’s detention order requires that the Court review de novo whether conditions of release exist that “will reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance in court or the safety of any other person or the community.” United States v. Hassanshahi, 989 F.Supp.2d 110, 113 (D.D.C. 2013) (citing 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)(1)). “‘The Court is free to use in its analysis any evidence or reasons relied on by the magistrate judge, but it may also hear additional evidence and rely on its own reasons.’” United States v. Hubbard, 962 F.Supp.2d 212, 215 (D.D.C. 2013) (quoting United States v. Sheffield, 799 F.Supp.2d 18, 20 (D.D.C. 2011)); see also United States v. Hitselberger, 909 F.Supp.2d 4, 7 (D.D.C. 2012).

The Bail Reform Act of 1984 provides a “regulatory device . . . to provide fair bail procedures while protecting the safety of the public and assuring the appearance at trial of defendants found likely to flee.” United States v. Montalvo-Murillo, 495 U.S. 711, 719-720 (1990). Under the Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3141 et seq., a judicial officer “shall order” a defendant’s detention before trial if, after a hearing, “the judicial officer finds that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of any other person and the community.” Id. § 3142(e). The judicial officer considering the propriety of pretrial detention must consider four factors:

(1) the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, including whether the offense . . . involves . . . a controlled substance;
(2) the weight of evidence against the person;
(3) the history and characteristics of the person, including . . . the person’s character, physical and mental condition, family ties, employment, financial resources, length of residence in the community, community ties, past conduct, history relating to drug or alcohol abuse, criminal history, and record concerning appearance at court proceedings; and . . . whether, at the time of the current offense or arrest, the person was on probation, on parole, or on other ...

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