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United States v. Allen

June 25, 2007

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
JERMAINE ALLEN, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joy Flowers Conti United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Defendant requested hearing on grant of pretrial detention for defendant Jermaine Allen issued by a magistrate judge. After a de novo review of the pleadings in this case, a pretrial services recommendation, the arguments of counsel, and two hearings at which evidence and proffers of evidence were presented, this court denied defendant's request for bail on the record and ordered defendant Jermaine Allen detained without bond pending trial. This memorandum order sets forth the reasons for the court's decision, which were detailed on the record.

Standard

The court's standard of review for reviewing a magistrate judge's decision regarding bail is de novo. United States v. Delker, 757 F.2d 1390, 1394 (3d Cir.1985).

Facts

Defendant was indicted by a grand jury for serious drug offenses under 21 U.S.C. § 841 (b)(1)(A)(ii) and 21 U.S.C. § 841 (b)(1)(A)(iii). The maximum sentence for the offenses is life imprisonment with a mandatory minimum sentence of at least ten years imprisonment. (Docket No.1). The alleged offenses occurred in or around July 2004, to on or about February 26, 2007.

During this time period, a confidential informant (the "CI") alleged that the CI purchased ounce quantities of cocaine from defendant. The CI indicated that the CI had also purchased drugs from the defendant in the past and that several of the co-defendants indicated that defendant was the source of their cocaine. The CI informed law enforcement officers that the CI knew that defendant supplied, co-defendant, Anthony Greene, with cocaine. Based on an investigation into the illegal drug trafficking, law enforcement officers secured a search warrant and executed the search warrant on defendant's residence. The search yielded $12,000 in cash, $9,000 of which was found in a paper bag in a dryer located in defendant's home.

With respect to defendant's background, defendant has three firearms convictions and no meaningful employment history or verifiable source of income. Defendant presented evidence that he is self-employed, but did not produce evidence of income commensurate with even a modest life style. Defendant has family ties in Western Pennsylvania. Defendant, however, has had extensive interaction with the criminal justice system and committed various firearm and violent crimes in the past. The government argued that defendant should be considered a flight risk. The court found, however, that based on the evidence presented, the defendant rebutted the presumption that he was a risk of flight and the government did not meet its burden to show that defendant presented a risk of flight.

Discussion

The structured system of the Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 3141 et seq., regarding the release or detention of a defendant before trial seeks to ensure that the interests of the defendant and the public are carefully considered and contemplated before release or detention is ordered. See United States v. Lemos, 876 F.Supp. 58, 59 (D.N.J.1995). The court is charged with determining whether there exists "any condition or combination of conditions set forth in [18 U.S.C. § 3142(c)] that will reasonably assure the appearance of the [defendant] as required and the safety of any other person and the community...." 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f), see Lemos, 876 F.Supp. at 59 (stating that "[a] condition precedent to detention without bail under subsection (e) is that a hearing be held as provided in subsection (f).").

Section 3142(c)(1)(B) of the Bail Reform Act sets forth a nonexclusive list of conditions that a court may impose upon granting a defendant's motion for pretrial release. If no sufficient condition or combination of conditions exists, however, the court may order that a defendant be detained without bail pending trial.

Section 3142(e) of the Bail Reform Act provides, in pertinent part:

If, after a hearing pursuant to the provisions of subsection (f) . . ., the judicial officer finds that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the [defendant] as required and the safety of any other person and the community, such judicial officer shall order the detention of the [defendant] before trial. . . . . . . .

Subject to rebuttal by the [defendant], it shall be presumed that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the [defendant] as required and the safety of the community if the judicial officer finds that there is probable cause to believe that the [defendant] committed an offense for which a maximum term of imprisonment of ten ...


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