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United States v. Coit

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

December 23, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
WILLIAM COIT

          MEMORANDUM

          BARTLE, J.

         Before the court is the motion of defendant William Coit (“Coit”) to revoke the decision of Magistrate Judge Elizabeth T. Hey to deny his pretrial release pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e).

         Coit is charged in a nine-count criminal complaint[1]with one count of engaging in the dealing of firearms without a license in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1)(A) and § 924(a)(1)(D), six counts of possession of a firearm by a felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), and two counts of distributing fentanyl, a controlled substance, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1).

         On November 8, 2019, after an evidentiary hearing, Magistrate Judge Hey ordered Coit to be detained without bail before trial. Coit seeks review of this order under 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b). We held an evidentiary hearing on December 20, 2019 and now make a de novo determination of Coit's eligibility for pretrial release. See United States v. Delker, 757 F.2d 1390, 1394-95 (3d Cir. 1985).

         The Bail Reform Act governs the issue of pretrial detention. See 18 U.S.C. § 3142. The Act provides that “[i]f, after a hearing . . . the judicial officer finds that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of any other person and the community, such judicial officer shall order the detention of the person before trial.” Id. § 3142(e)(1).

         The Bail Reform Act provides for a rebuttable presumption in favor of detention in certain circumstances:

(3) Subject to rebuttal by the person, it shall be presumed that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of the community if the judicial officer finds that there is probable cause to believe that the person committed-
(A) an offense for which a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or more is prescribed in the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.).

Id. § 3142(e)(3) (emphasis added).

         Coit concedes there is probable cause to believe that he has committed an offense punishable by ten or more years under the Controlled Substances Act. 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C); 21 U.S.C. § 812(C) sched. II(b)(6). Thus, subject to Coit overcoming the presumption, we must presume that no conditions of pretrial release would protect the safety of the community and ensure Coit's appearance in this matter.

         To overcome the rebuttable presumption, “the defendant must produce some credible evidence forming a basis for his contention that he will appear and will not pose a threat to the community.” United States v. Carbone, 793 F.2d 559, 560 (3d Cir. 1986). However, “the burden of persuading the Court that the defendant is dangerous or will not appear for trial remains with the Government.” See, e.g., United States v. Nichols, 2015 WL 2126807, at *1 (E.D. Pa. May 5, 2015).

         We consider the following factors in assessing whether Coit has rebutted the presumption against pretrial release and whether the government has met its burden of persuasion:

(1) the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, including whether the offense . . . involves a ...

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