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United States v. Brown

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

October 30, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
ALEX BROWN, JR., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM ORDER REVIEWING DETENTION ORDER AND DENYING RELEASE FROM CUSTODY

          Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge

         Defendant Alex Brown, Jr., was detained pending trial following a detention hearing before Chief Magistrate Judge Kelly on August 29, 2017 on grounds that no condition or combination of conditions could adequately ensure the safety of the community. Doc. No. 94. Magistrate Judge Kelly found that Defendant should be detained due to the strong weight of evidence against him, the lengthy period of incarceration to which he will be subject if convicted, his prior criminal history, and his participating in criminal activity while on probation, parole, or supervision. Id. Defendant requests that the Court vacate the detention order and release him on unsecured bond. Doc. No. 121.

         The Court has reviewed Defendant's Motion, doc. no. 121, the Government's Response, doc. no. 133, and the Defendant's Reply, doc. no. 140. The Court has also reviewed the Pretrial Services Report and the transcript of the detention hearing before Magistrate Judge Kelly, doc. no. 167. For the reasons that follow, the Court will DENY Defendant's Motion.

         I. Legal Standards

         Title 18 United States Code Section3145(b), provides 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, the person may file, with the court having original jurisdiction over the offense, a motion for revocation or amendment of the order.

         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 Court of Appeals found that, “nothing in the new Act suggests that Congress intended to change that practice.” Delker, 757 F.2d at 1394. 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 Court may also consider any additional evidence submitted in connection with the motion. United States v. Turner, 08cr0323, 2008 WL 4186212, at *1 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 5, 2008).

         There is a presumption of detention in cases in which, as here, the defendant is charged under the Controlled Substances Act with an offense for which a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or more is prescribed. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e). To rebut the presumption, the defendant must produce some evidence, though “[t]he quantum of evidence required to rebut the presumption is not high.” United States v. Gibson, 481 F.Supp.2d 419, 420 (W.D. Pa. 2007). The defendant must produce some credible evidence that he will not pose a threat to the community upon his release. United States v. Wooley, 11cr0158, 2012 WL 3245472 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 7, 2012).

         If the defendant produces evidence to rebut the presumption, the Government continues to bear the burden of persuasion that the defendant should be detained. United States v. Shannon, 11cr0237, 2014 WL 7157335 (W.D. Pa. Dec. 15, 2014). The Government must prove dangerousness by clear and convincing evidence. Id.

         According to Section 3142(g), the following four factors must be considered:

(1) the nature and circumstances of the offense;
(2) the weight of the evidence against the person;
(3) the history and characteristics of the person, including his character, family, employment, finances, length of residence, ties to community, drug abuse history, criminal history, record of appearance at court proceedings, and ...

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