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United States v. Price

January 31, 2008

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
HAROLD D. PRICE



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Terrence F. McVerry United States District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Before the Court is the MOTION TO REVOKE DETENTION ORDER filed by Defendant Harold D. Price and the response in opposition filed by the government. For the reasons stated below, the motion will be denied.

Facts and Procedural History

On August 23, 2007, a Criminal Complaint was filed against Defendant in which he was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, on or about May 3, 2007, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and 924(e) (Document No. 1). Defendant made his initial appearance on August 24, 2007 (Document No. 7.) On August 28, 2007, a federal grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania returned a one-count Indictment in which Defendant was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) and 924(e) (Document No. 12). Specifically, the Indictment charges Defendant with the unlawful possession of three (3) semi-automatic handguns after having been convicted of four (4) felony drug-trafficking offenses. An arraignment and detention hearing was held on August 28, 2007, at which time the government requested that the Defendant be detained without bond pending trial in accordance with the Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 3141, et. seq.

The Defendant was present and represented by counsel at the detention hearing. At the hearing, counsel for both parties presented evidence and proffers of evidence including, but not limited to, information which pertained to the Defendant's history and the circumstances of his arrest on this charge. In particular, evidence included that on May 3, 2007, state police troopers responded to a domestic incident at the Defendant's residence. The Defendant's wife reported that the Defendant had "head-butted" her, which resulted in her having a bloody, split lip. The Defendant's wife consented to a search of the residence. As a result of the search, three (3) semi-automatic pistols, two (2) digital scales, approximately three (3) pounds of marijuana, and a small amount of cocaine were seized. The Defendant's wife denied ownership of the three (3) firearms.

The first firearm (a Davis Industries, caliber .380, semi-automatic pistol) was found under the Defendant's mattress in the marital bedroom. Defendant's wife told the police officers that she had seen the Defendant in possession of the firearm and that he had in fact actually threatened her with that firearm approximately one week prior to the date of his arrest.

The second firearm (a Ruger, caliber 9mm, semi-automatic pistol) was found in the ceiling of the loft of a garage, along with marijuana, cocaine, and drug paraphernalia. The Defendant's wife told the police officers that Defendant utilized the garage loft to "party."

The third firearm (a Glock, caliber 9mm, semi-automatic pistol) was seized in a sport utility vehicle co-owned by the Defendant.

ATF agents confirmed that two of the seized firearms were registered to Roxanne Basham, the Defendant's "girlfriend / fiancee." Ms. Basham told the ATF agents that she had, in fact, given the two firearms to the Defendant.*fn1

The Defendant presented the testimony of Brian Smith, a cousin of the Defendant, who was willing to serve as a third party custodian for him if released pending trial.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the magistrate judge granted the government's motion and ordered that Defendant be detained pending further disposition of this matter. (Document No. 19).

On January 11, 2008, Defendant filed the pending motion for revocation of the order of detention (Document No. 30), to which the government responded in opposition on January 28, 2008 (Document No. 31).

Standard of Review

When a district court acts on a motion to revoke a pretrial detention order issued by a magistrate judge, the district court acts de novo and must make an independent determination of the proper pretrial detention or conditions for ...


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