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United States v. Richardson

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Newport News Division

September 26, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
MICHAEL RICHARDSON, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ROBERT G. DOUMER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On September 21 and 25, 2017, the parties appeared before the Court on the Government's Motion for Revocation of Release Order Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3145 (ECF No. 19) and the Government's Supplemental Motion for Revocation of Release Order Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3145 (ECF No. 22) (collectively, "Motions to Revoke"). At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court GRANTED the Government's Motions to Revoke and ordered that the Defendant be detained pending trial. This Memorandum Opinion elaborates on the Court's reasons for granting the Government's motions.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On August 16, 2017, a federal grand jury sitting in Newport News named Defendant in a 29-count Criminal Indictment charging him with the following: Conspiracy to Violate Federal Firearms Laws, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 (Count 1); Unlicensed Interstate Transportation of a Firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(3) (Count 2); sixteen counts of False Statement During Purchase of Firearms, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(a)(6) and 2 (Counts 3-18); and eleven counts of Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (Counts 19-29). ECF No. 3.

         On September 1, 2017, Defendant made his initial appearance in this Court, and the Government moved for his detention. See ECF No. 12. On September 12, 2017, a detention hearing was held before Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Miller. See ECF No. 17. Judge Miller ultimately denied the Government's motion for detention and ordered Defendant's release with several conditions, including, but not limited to, restricted travel, the appointment of a third-party custodian, and electronic monitoring. See Id. The next day, the Government moved to stay the release order and moved for revocation of same. See Motion to Stay, ECF No. 18; Motion to Revoke, ECF No. 19. On September 13, 2017, Judge Miller granted the Motion to Stay. ECF No. 20. The Government's Motion to Revoke was set for hearing, and the parties submitted additional briefing to the Court. See Supplemental Motion for Revocation, ECF No. 22; Defendant's Response, ECF No. 23.

         On September 21, 2017, with the Defendant present, the Court conducted a hearing on the Government's Motions to Revoke. ECF No. 24. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court withheld ruling, instructed counsel to undertake further investigation, and continued the matter until September 25, 2017. Id. The continuation of such hearing was held on September 25, 2017, at which time the parties presented additional evidence and argument. See ECF No. 25. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court granted the Government's Motions to Revoke.

         II. MOTION TO REVOKE ORDER OF RELEASE

         A. Standard of Review

         The Bail Reform Act of 1984 ("Act"), 18 U.S.C. § 3141 et seg,, permits a district court to review a magistrate judge's release order on motion by the government. 18 U.S.C. § 3141(a). "When the district court acts on a motion to revoke or amend a magistrate judge's pretrial detention order, the district court acts de novo and must make an independent determination of the proper pretrial detention or conditions of release." United States v. Stewart. 19 Fed.App'x 46, 48 (4th Cir. 2001) (emphasis added).

         The Court must hold a hearing to determine whether revocation of release is appropriate. At the hearing, "such person has the right to be represented by counsel, and, if financially unable to obtain adequate representation, to have counsel appointed." 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f). In addition, "the person shall be afforded an opportunity to testify, to present witnesses, to cross-examine witnesses who appear at the hearing, and to present information by proffer or otherwise." Id. Furthermore, "the rules concerning admissibility of evidence in criminal trials do not apply to the presentation and consideration of information at the hearing." IcL

         Where, as here, the defendant has been charged with a crime that "involves the possession or use of a firearm, " the Court must determine whether any condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant and the safety of any other person and the community. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(1)(E). The Government bears the burden of proof and needs to prove either risk of flight or dangerousness to prevail. Stewart. 19 Fed.App'x. at 48 (citation omitted). Specifically, the Government must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that no combination of conditions will reasonably assure the defendant's appearance at future court proceedings, or by clear and convincing evidence that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community. IcL (citations omitted).

         The Act provides several factors for the Court to consider when determining whether the Government has met its burden. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g). These factors include:

         (1) the nature and circumstance of ...


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