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United States of America v. David Wooley

August 7, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DAVID WOOLEY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge

ELECTRONICALLY FILED MEMORANDUM OPINION

I. Introduction

Pending before this Court is Defendant's (Pro Se) Motion Entitled "Notice of Appeal of Magistrate Decision by David Wooley as to Order of Detention." Doc. No. 326. The Court has thoroughly reviewed Defendant's (Pro Se) Motion, and the Government's Response to the Motion (doc. no. 332).*fn1 The Motion is now ripe for disposition. In light of Defendant's important liberty interest, the Court's review has been expedited.

II. Background

The one-count Superseding Indictment in this criminal action alleges a drug conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of Oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, in violation of Title 21 United States Code Section 846, and names Defendant Wooley, and eleven (11) other Co-Defendants. If convicted, Wooley faces a maximum of thirty (30) years imprisonment.

On July 11, 2012, following a second detention hearing, United States Magistrate Judge Mitchell denied Defendant's motion to reinstate pretrial release pending trial. On the same date, Magistrate Judge Mitchell entered an Order releasing Co-Defendant James Cracraft on an unsecured $50,000 bond.

On July 19, 2012, Defendant filed a (Pro Se) Notice of Appeal from Magistrate Judge Mitchell's Order, and requested the Court "review [his] case." In support thereof, Defendant argues that he was denied bail while two of his Co-Defendants were released on bail, and he has been in jail for the past 12 months and most of his Co-Defendants obtained bond, despite their prior drug convictions.

In response, the Government emphasizes that Defendant had his original detention hearing before then Magistrate Judge Cathy Bissoon on July 21, 2011, and the evidence presented at the hearing thereon was that Wooley was the driver of a car from which $158,409 was seized, and Defendant allegedly admitted that he was transporting the cash for oxycodone supplier Co-Defendant Dorsey, in Florida. Defendant also stated that he made two prior trips to Florida and had purchased 13,000 pills from Dorsey.

III. Standard of Review/Discussion

The legal procedure for reviewing a United States Magistrate Judge's decision regarding pretrial detention is governed by 18 U.S.C. § 3145, which states in pertinent part, that:

If a person is ordered detained by a magistrate judge, or by a person other than a judge of a court having original jurisdiction over the offense and other than a Federal appellate court -- (2) the person may file, with the court having original jurisdiction over the offense, a motion for revocation or amendment of the order. The motion shall be determined promptly.

The United States Court of Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has determined that the appropriate standard of review is de novo. United States v. Delker, 757 F.2d 1390, 1394 (3d Cir. 1985). Even though the new Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. §3141, et seq., does not specifically grant de novo review to the District Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has found that, "nothing in the new Act suggests that Congress intended to change that practice." United States v. Delker, 757 F.2d at 1394. Finally, at the evidentiary level, de novo review does not require an additional or independent evidentiary hearing by the District Court, and the Court may incorporate the transcript of the proceedings before the Magistrate Judge, including any exhibits admitted therein. United States v. Chagra, 850 F.Supp. 354, 357 (W.D.Pa 1994).

The law governing the "presumption" of detention is as follows:

Where the record reflects probable cause to believe the defendant has committed a crime of violence or an offense for which the maximum term of imprisonment is ten years or more is prescribed by the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 801, et seq., the Bail Reform Act creates a rebuttable presumption that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of any other person in the community. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e); United States v. Perry, 788 F.2d 100, 106 (3d. Cir. 1986). A defendant may rebut the presumption by presenting "some credible evidence" that he will not pose a threat to the community upon his release. United States v. Carbone, 793 F.2d 559, 560 (3d Cir. 1986) (to rebut the presumption "[t]he defendant must produce some credible evidence forming a basis for ...


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