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United States v. Jesse Zayas

March 4, 2011

UNITED STATES
v.
JESSE ZAYAS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Slomsky, J.

OPINION

I. INTRODUCTION

Defendant Jesse Zayas has filed a Motion to Revoke or Amend the Detention Order of July 26, 2010 (Doc. No. 233).*fn1 The Motion was filed on February 11, 2011. On February 14, 2011, the Government filed a response in opposition to Defendant's Motion to Revoke or Amend the Detention Order of July 26, 2010 (Doc. No. 236). On February 18, 2011, the Court held a hearing on Defendant's Motion. Counsel for Defendant and the Government presented arguments in support of their respective positions. Four witnesses testified on behalf of Defendant. After consideration of the arguments, briefs of Counsel, and the record in this case, the Court will deny Defendant's Motion to Revoke or Amend the Detention Order of July 26, 2010.

II. BACKGROUND

On April 28, 2010, a grand jury returned the Superceding Indictment (Doc. No. 9) charging Defendant in five (5) counts with the following offenses:

(1) Conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) (one count);

(2) Conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(5) (one count);

(3) Conspiracy to commit kidnaping in aid of racketeering activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(5) (one count);

(4) Distribution of 50 grams or more of cocaine base ("crack") in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a) (one count); and

(5) Distribution of controlled substances on public housing authority property in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 860(a) (one count).

The maximum sentence for these offenses is life imprisonment with a mandatory minimum of twenty (20) years imprisonment. (Doc. No. 32 at 5.)

On July 21, 2010, Defendant was arrested on the Superceding Indictment. (Doc. Nos. 32 at 4; 236 at 2.) On July 26, 2010, United States Magistrate Judge David R. Strawbridge presided over Defendant's Arraignment and Detention Hearing and signed an Order showing that Defendant had stipulated to pretrial detention and entered a plea of not guilty. (Doc. No. 58.) Defendant appeared at the hearing with present defense counsel. (Doc. No. 233 ¶ 3.) As noted above, on February 11, 2011, Defendant filed a Motion to Revoke or Amend the Detention Order of July 26, 2010 (Doc. No. 233). On February 14, 2011, the Government filed a response in opposition. (Doc. No. 236.)

On February 18, 2011, the Court held a hearing on Defendant's Motion (the "Hearing"). At the Hearing, Defendant's Counsel proffered reasons why Defendant is neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community. First, Counsel argued that the charges against Defendant in the Superceding Indictment are "dated" because he has not been accused of engaging in any unlawful behavior since 2008. (February 18, 2011 Hearing Transcript ("Hr'g Tr.") at 32:16-25.) Counsel further asserted that the Pretrial Services Report included the finding that Defendant was not a flight risk. (Id. at 33:11-13.) Moreover, four witnesses testified at the hearing and each presented testimony that in the two years prior to his arrest, Defendant had been gainfully employed and working long hours to maintain a house that he had recently purchased, where he resided with his girlfriend. Counsel also asserted that Defendant did not have a lot money and that he did not have contacts outside of the country. (Id. at 33:13-19.) The implication arising from the above arguments and evidence is that Defendant has strong motivation to remain in Pennsylvania and not to flee.

In his Motion, Defendant avers that the imposition and enforcement of certain conditions can ensure Defendant's presence at trial. (Doc. No. 233 ΒΆ 5.) At the Hearing, Counsel for Defendant elaborated upon this request and offered house arrest and electronic monitoring as adequate conditions to ensure Defendant's presence at trial. (Hr'g Tr. at 34:11-16, 36:2-5.) If released, Defendant plans to reside at the home he recently purchased with his girlfriend. ...


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