United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER MODIFYING CONDITIONS OF
F. Cox United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on the Government's appeal of
Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Stafford's release order. The
parties appeared before the Court for a hearing on January
17, 2017. For the reasons below, the Court concludes that
there is a combination of factors that can reasonably assure
the safety of the community and Defendant's appearance in
court. The Court shall require Defendant to post a $1, 200,
000 secured bond. In addition, the Court shall issue a new
Order Setting Conditions of Release, retaining all of the
other conditions imposed by Magistrate Judge Stafford.
January 4, 2018, a grand jury returned a 43-count indictment
charging Defendant with 40 counts of unlawful distribution of
controlled substances or conspiracy to do the same, 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a)(1), 846, and three counts of health care
fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1347 (Doc. # 1). The indictment
alleged that Defendant participated in a scheme involving the
unlawful distribution of prescription drug substances, in
which he would write prescriptions in exchange for cash
payments. Following the indictment, Defendant was temporarily
detained and a detention hearing was set for January 12, 2018
before Magistrate Judge Stafford. Pretrial Services
recommended that Defendant be released on a $10, 000
unsecured bond with various conditions.
the hearing, Magistrate Judge Stafford ordered that Defendant
would be released on a $10, 000 unsecured bond with
conditions. Due to concerns over Defendant's risk of
flight, these conditions included: home detention, travel
restriction to the State of Michigan, and a requirement that
Defendant surrender his passport and not obtain international
travel documents. Magistrate Judge Stafford stayed her
decision pending the Government's appeal. The Court has
since extended that stay pending its review and decision in
this matter (Doc. # 55, 56, 65).
18 U.S.C. § 3145(a)(1), the Government may seek review
of a magistrate judge's release order. The Court reviews
the appeal de novo. United States v. Leon, 766 F.2d
77, 80 (2d Cir. 1985).
is a rebuttable presumption in favor of detention where there
is probable cause to believe the defendant committed a
controlled substance offense for which the maximum term of
imprisonment is 10 years or more. 18 U.S.C. §
3142(e)(3)(A). The parties agree that this is such a case.
See United States v. Stone, 608 F.3d 939, 946-47
(6th Cir. 2010) (holding a grand jury indictment satisfies
the probable cause requirement). The § 3142(e)
presumption imposes a burden of production on the defendant
to show that he does not pose a danger to the community or a
risk of flight. Id. at 945. The government retains
the burden of persuasion “to prove that no conditions
of release can assure that the defendant will appear and to
assure the safety of the community.” Id. at
946; see also 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e). To determine
whether no condition or combination of conditions exist that
will reasonably assure Defendant's appearance, the Court
shall consider the following factors from § 3142(g): (1)
the nature and circumstances of the offenses charged; (2) the
weight of the evidence against the person; (3) the history
and characteristics of the person; and (4) the nature and
seriousness of the danger to any person the community that
would be posed by the person's release.
Burden of Production.
Court first concludes that Defendant has satisfied his burden
to produce some evidence to rebut the § 3142(e)
presumption. For risk of flight, Defendant proffered that he
has a stable residence where he lives with his wife and son
and that his passport has been seized. For dangerousness,
Defendant proffered that his medical license has been
suspended and that he surrendered his Drug Enforcement Agency
number, thereby preventing him from prescribing medication.
This evidence satisfies Defendant's “relatively
light” burden to rebut the § 3142(e) presumption.
See Stone, 608 F.3d at 947. Thus, the Court must
consider the § 3142(g) factors to determine whether the
Government has met its burden of persuasion “to prove
that no conditions of release can assure that the defendant
will appear and to assure the safety of the community.”
Id. at 946.
and Circumstances of the Charge.
charges against Defendant are serious and weigh in favor of
detention. The indictment alleges that Defendant participated
in a large-scale operation involving the illegal sale of more
than $18 million worth of controlled substances. He is
charged with 40 counts of controlled substances offenses,
which is a specific consideration under § 3142(g)(1).
Further, the applicability of the § 3142(e) presumption
to the charged crimes reflects Congress' judgment that
offenders charged with these controlled substances offenses
should typically be detained prior to trial. Stone,
608 F.3d at 945.
and Seriousness of the Danger Posed by Defendant's
Defendant's medical license has been revoked and because
he surrendered his DEA number, he lacks the ability to
continue the conduct alleged in the indictment. He also has
no prior criminal history that would suggest future
dangerousness. The Court also notes that the Government has
focused on whether Defendant is a flight risk, not ...