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United States v. Thomas

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

July 2, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
D-1 Reuben Malcolm Thomas, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR REVOCATION OF DETENTION ORDER

          Sean F. Cox, United States District Judge

         On April 24, 2019, Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen ordered Defendant Rueben Malcolm Thomas released pending trial. The Government immediately appealed to the presiding district court judge, the Honorable Paul Borman, who ordered Thomas detained pending trial. The matter is currently before the Court on Thomas's motion to revoke Judge Borman's detention order. For the reasons below, the Court concludes that the Government has established, by clear and convincing evidence, that there is no condition or combination of conditions that will reasonably assure Thomas's appearance or the safety of the community. Accordingly, the Court will deny Thomas's motion.

         BACKGROUND

         On April 17, 2019, Thomas was charged in a criminal complaint with various drugs crimes. Judge Whalen held a detention hearing on April 24, 2019. After the hearing, Judge Whalen found that Thomas had rebutted the presumption of detention and released him on a $10, 000 unsecured bond, with special conditions. On the Government's request, Judge Whalen stayed his release order so that it could appeal.

         The Government immediately appealed to Judge Borman, who was the presiding judge that week. Judge Borman continued Judge Whalen's stay until the next day. On April 25, 2019, Judge Borman held a detention hearing, after which he found, by clear and convincing evidence, that not set of conditions could reasonably assure the safety of the community. Judge Borman ordered Thomas detained pending trial.

         Thereafter, a grand jury indicted Thomas for (1) four counts of distribution of a controlled substance (cocaine), (2) four counts of distribution of a controlled substance (cocaine), aiding and abetting, (3) possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. (ECF No. 30)

         On June 6, 2019, Thomas moved to revoke Judge Borman's detention order. (ECF No. 49). The Government has filed a brief in opposition. (ECF No. 50). The Court heard oral arguments on this issue on July 1, 2019.

         ANALYSIS

         The Court reviews a defendant's appeal of an order of detention de novo. United States v. Leon, 766 F.2d 77, 80 (2d Cir. 1985).

         Pursuant to the Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3142, a defendant may be detained pending trial only if a judge “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[.]” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e). The default position of the law is to release the defendant pending trial. United States v. Stone, 608 F.3d 939, 945 (6th Cir. 2010). However, 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e) reverses that default position for certain, particularly dangerous, defendants. Id. Federal law creates a rebuttable presumption in favor of detention when a judge finds probable cause to believe that a defendant committed one of the crimes listed in 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)(3).

         The parties agree that this is a presumption case.

         Section 3142(e)(3)'s presumption in favor of detention imposes a burden of production on the defendant. See Stone, 608 F.3d at 945. The defendant's burden of production is not heavy. Id. Nevertheless, the defendant must produce evidence to rebut the statutory presumption in favor of detention. Id. Even when a defendant satisfies the burden of production, “the presumption favoring detention does not disappear.” Id. Instead, the presumption favoring detention remains as a factor to be considered among those weighed by the district court.” Id.

         In addition to weighing the effect of a statutory presumption in favor of detention, the Court shall also consider the following factors: 1) the nature and circumstances of the offense 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 or the community that would be posed by the person's release. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g).

         The Government maintains the burden of persuasion. The Government must prove the risk of flight by a preponderance of the evidence and dangerousness to the community by ...


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