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United States v. McSwain

United States District Court, District of Columbia

April 15, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
VINCENT DONTA MCSWAIN, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         A federal indictment charges Defendant Vincent Donta McSwain with unlawful possession of 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 with receipt or possession of a firearm unidentified by serial number, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5861(i). At a detention hearing on March 4, 2019, Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather granted the Government's oral motion to detain Mr. McSwain pending trial. He presently seeks release from pretrial custody into the High Intensity Supervision Program (“HISP”). Upon consideration of the briefing, [1] the relevant legal authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court DENIES Mr. McSwain's [12] Motion to Modify Conditions of Release. He shall remain in custody pending trial.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court draws on the briefing and the docket for certain relevant proceedings in this matter. On February 27, 2019, Mr. McSwain was arrested during a traffic stop when Metropolitan Police Department officers allegedly found a loaded gun on his person that lacked a serial number, and they identified a prior felony conviction in a criminal records database. See, e.g., Stmt. of Facts, Criminal Compl., ECF No. 1-1, at 2; Gov.'s Opp'n at 1-2.

         The Government filed a sealed Criminal Complaint against Mr. McSwain on February 28, 2019, containing two counts, namely unlawful possession of 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 receipt or possession of a firearm unidentified by serial number, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5861(i). Criminal Compl., ECF No. 1. On March 1, 2019, Mr. McSwain initially appeared before Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson, who unsealed the case, denied the Government's oral motion for temporary detention, and denied Mr. McSwain's oral motion for an immediate hearing on pretrial detention. Min. Entry for Initial Appearance of Mar. 1, 2019. Nevertheless, it appears that Mr. McSwain remained in detention without bond. Id.

         An Indictment containing the same two charges was filed on March 4, 2019. ECF No. 3.[2]That same date, Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather held a detention hearing and granted the Government's oral motion to commit Mr. McSwain to custody. Min. Entry for Detention Hearing of Apr. 4, 2019; Order of Detention Pending Trial, ECF No. 6. Mr. McSwain was arraigned before this Court on March 15, 2019. Min. Order of Mar. 18, 2019.

         Mr. McSwain has moved for pretrial release into HISP. Briefing having concluded, his motion is ripe for decision.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The touchstone of the pretrial detention inquiry is whether a defendant's “release will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required or will endanger the safety of any other person or the community.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(b). Imposition of a condition or combination of conditions of release may be necessary to achieve such assurance. Id. § 3142(c). Failing that, a defendant is detained until trial. See Id. § 3142(a), (e); see also § 3142(d) (providing for temporary detention in certain circumstances).

         A defendant may seek review of the decision of a magistrate judge to detain him pending trial. Id. § 3145(b). In that event, this Court conducts the detention inquiry de novo. See United States v. Taylor, 289 F.Supp.3d 55, 63 (D.D.C. 2018) (observing that the Court of Appeals of this Circuit has yet to confirm standard of review, but applying standard recognized in nearly all other circuits).

         In certain circumstances, the Court presumes-subject to rebuttal by a defendant-that “no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)(2), (3).

         Regardless of the rebuttable presumption, the Court must take the following factors into consideration as it reviews the magistrate's detention order:

(1) the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, including whether the offense is a crime of violence, a violation of section 1591, a Federal crime of terrorism, or involves a minor victim or a controlled ...

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