United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
S. HUVELLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Austin Pierre Boykins, also known as Austin Pierre Boykin,
has been charged with one count of unlawful distribution of
cocaine base in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and
§ 841(b)(1)(C) (“Count One”), one count of
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)
(“Count Two”), one count of unlawful possession
with intent to distribute cocaine base in violation of 21
U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and § 841(b)(1)(C) (“Count
Three”), and one count of using, carrying, and
possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking offense in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) (“Count
Four”). (See Indictment, ECF No. 1.) The
government requested a pretrial detention hearing pursuant to
18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(1). (Gov't Memo. for Pretrial
Detention at 4, ECF No. 5.) On July 24, 2018, a detention
hearing was held before Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson.
(July 24, 2018 Minute Entry.) At the conclusion of this
hearing, she granted the government's motion to hold
defendant pending trial. (Id.) Mr. Boykins
thereafter filed a motion to revoke Magistrate Robinson's
detention order under 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b), which the
government opposed. (See Def.'s Mot., ECF No.
12; Gov't Opp., ECF No. 17). The Court held a hearing on
defendant's motion on August 6, 2018, at the conclusion
of which the Court issued an oral ruling denying
defendant's motion. This Memorandum Opinion sets forth in
further detail the basis for the Court's ruling.
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.” 18 U.S.C. § 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 [or] firearm . . .;
(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 (4) the nature and seriousness of the
danger to any person or the community that would be posed by
the person's release. . .
18 U.S.C. § 3142(g). “The facts . . . use[d] to
support a finding . . . that no condition or combination of
conditions will reasonably assure the safety of any other
person and the community [must] be supported by clear and
convincing evidence.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f).
Bail Reform Act creates 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” when there is probable
cause to believe a defendant committed certain offenses,
including “an offense for which a maximum term of
imprisonment of ten years or more is prescribed in the
Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. § 801 et
seq.)” or “an offense under section 924(c) . . .
of this title.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)(3). The
triggering of this presumption creates “a burden of
production on the defendant to offer some credible evidence
contrary to the statutory presumption, ” but it does
not shift the burden of persuasion, which “remains with
the government throughout the proceeding.” United
States v. Taylor, 289 F.Supp.3d 55, 63 (D.D.C. 2018).
Given the charges in the current indictment, this presumption
has been triggered. United States v. Williams, 903
F.2d 844 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (explaining that a grand jury
indictment “establish[es] probable cause for the
purposes of triggering the rebuttable presumption of section
attempting to rebut this presumption, Mr. Boykins stresses
facts that are pertinent to the third factor, the
“history and characteristics of the [defendant].”
18 U.S.C. § 3142(g)(3). In particular, Mr. Boykins
highlights his extensive ties to the community. He was
employed at the time of his arrest, and he has a girlfriend
and family members in the D.C. area, some of whom attended
the detention hearing held on August 6, 2018.
in considering a defendant's “history and
characteristics, ” the Court also considers a
defendant's criminal history. Id. Mr. Boykins
has two prior felony convictions involving a firearm.
(Pretrial Services Report at 4, ECF No. 13.) Mr. Boykins has
also struggled to comply with the terms of supervised release
in the past. (Id. (indicating that defendant had
probation revoked in 2005 and supervised release revoked in
2010).) At the time of his arrest on July 18, 2018, he tested
positive for opiates and was found in a car with a bottle of
104 oxycodone pills. (Gov't Opp. at 4.) Given
defendant's criminal record and his recent conduct, this
factor tends to weigh heavily in favor of pretrial detention.
Boykins also tries to rebut the presumption by focusing on
the factor that considers the weight of the evidence against
the defendant. See 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g)(2).
Defense counsel argues that the weight of the evidence
against Mr. Boykins is weak given that neither drugs nor a
firearm were found on defendant's physical person at the
time of arrest. The Court disagrees. It appears that the
government has a strong case that Mr. Boykins was in
constructive possession of the loaded firearm and crack
cocaine located in the Porsche to which Mr. Boykins had the
key- particularly given that these items were within a
satchel that contained defendant's wallet and photo
identification. (See Gov't Opp. at 3.) An
officer also observed a hand-to-hand drug transaction
involving Mr. Boykins, after which the officer located cash
on Mr. Boykins' person and drugs on his alleged buyer,
Mr. Francis. (See Id. at 2-3.)
last two factors also weigh in favor of pretrial detention.
The offenses charged are serious, as they involve a loaded
firearm and controlled substance. See 18 U.S.C.
§ 3142(g)(1). In addition, these serious allegations
“provid[e] the Court with reason to believe that his
release would pose a danger to the community.”
United States v. Moorer, 783 F.Supp.2d 154, 160
(D.D.C. 2011); see also 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g)(4).
When these factors are considered together, it is clear that
Mr. Boykins cannot overcome the law's presumption against
foregoing reasons, defendant's motion for reversal of the
Magistrate Judge's order of detention is hereby DENIED.
In accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 3142(i), the Court hereby
ORDERS that defendant remain in the custody of the ...