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United States v. Viau

United States District Court, District of Columbia

July 29, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
GLEN OMER VIAU, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Colleen Kollar-Kotelly United States District Judge.

         A federal indictment charges Defendant Glen Omer Viau with one count of making false statements to the United States government, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(1). These alleged false statements concern the export of restricted United States Navy data to the People's Republic of China (“China”) during a business proposal to China's naval force. Defendant has moved under 18 U.S.C. § 3142 to modify the conditions of his release so that he is permitted to travel to Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, and China for business reasons. Upon consideration of the briefing, [1] the relevant legal authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Defendant's [33] Motion to Modify his Conditions of Release. The Court will modify Defendant's conditions of release so that he is permitted to travel to Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand for business purposes, providing that Defendant provide the Pretrial Services Agency with an advance copy of his itinerary and that Defendant continue his weekly check-ins with the Pretrial Services Agency. However, for the reasons explained below, the Court will not permit Defendant to travel to China.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court draws on the briefing and the docket for certain relevant proceedings in this matter. On January 8, 2019, Defendant was indicted on one count of making false statements in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(1). Gov.'s Opp'n, ECF No. 35, 2; Indictment, ECF No. 4. Initially, Defendant was released from the District of Columbia jail on a $50, 000 cash bond and ordered to reside in the District of Columbia and to check-in with the Pretrial Services Agency in person on a weekly basis. Def.'s Mot., ECF No. 33, 1. In February, the Court modified the conditions of Defendant's release and allowed him to return to his family in Vancouver, Canada and to conduct weekly check-ins telephonically with the Pretrial Services Agency. Id. On June 7, 2019, the Court further modified Defendant's conditions of release, allowing him to travel to designated locations within Canada and Europe for family and business purposes with advance notice to the Pretrial Services Agency. Id. at 2; June 7, 2019 Order, ECF No. 29.

         The Government did not object to any of the above modifications to the conditions of Defendant's release. Additionally, Defendant has been in compliance with the conditions of his release, checking-in with the Pretrial Services Agency weekly by phone and attending scheduled Status Hearings.

         Defendant now moves for a further modification of his conditions of release. Defendant requests that he be allowed to travel to Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, and China for business purposes. The Government does not oppose his travel to Vietnam, Singapore, or Thailand. As travel to those countries is not opposed, and the Court concludes that it can still be reasonably assured of Defendant's appearance, the Court GRANTS IN PART Defendant's Motion and permits his travel to Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand for business purposes. Defendant should provide an advance copy of his travel itinerary to the Pretrial Services Agency prior to any travel and should continue his weekly check-in with the Pretrial Services Agency. However, the Government does oppose the modification of Defendant's conditions of release to allow travel to China. As such, the Court's analysis focuses on Defendant's request that he be allowed to travel to China. The Court finds that the inclusion of a condition permitting Defendant's travel to China would not reasonably assure the appearance of Defendant as required.

         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).

         In determining appropriate conditions of release, the Court takes the following factors into consideration:

(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 substance, firearm, explosive, or destructive device;
(2) the weight of the evidence against the person;
(3) the history and characteristics of the person, including-
(A) 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
(B) whether, at the time of the current offense or arrest, the person was on probation, on parole, or on other release pending trial, sentencing, appeal, or completion of sentence for ...

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