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United States v. Baltazar-Martinez

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

July 12, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERTO BALTAZAR-MARTINEZ, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING RELEASE WITH CONDITIONS

          MARK A. GOLDSMITH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Roberto Baltazar-Martinez appeals a magistrate judge's order of detention. After considering the parties' arguments and submissions, the Court orders Baltazar-Martinez's release with conditions.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On June 17, 2019, Baltazar-Martinez was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with a single violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a), illegal re-entry. See generally Compl. (Dkt. 1). At the initial appearance, the Government requested detention, citing, in part, the detainer lodged by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”).

         Defense counsel filed an appearance the next day. Prior to the June 19, 2019 hearing, Baltazar-Martinez filed a motion with the magistrate judge arguing that a detention hearing was not proper where the Government has not and cannot satisfy the requirements of 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f). Nonetheless, the magistrate judge held a detention hearing, and concluded that Baltazar-Martinez was a serious flight risk and ordered his detention (Dkt. 10). Baltazar-Martinez appealed.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Title 18 U.S.C. § 3142 governs the release or detention of a federal defendant pending trial. In general, “[t]he default position of the law . . . is that a defendant should be released pending trial.” United States v. Stone, 608 F.3d 939, 945 (6th Cir. 2010). However, a defendant may be detained pending trial 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).

         In determining whether no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant and the safety of the community, the Court must take into account the available information concerning: (i) the nature and circumstances of the offense charged; (ii) the weight of the evidence against the defendant; (iii) the history and characteristics of the defendant; and (iv) the nature and seriousness of the danger posed by the defendant's release. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g). The Government bears the burden of persuasion and must prove risk of flight by a preponderance of the evidence. United States v. Hinton, 113 Fed.Appx. 76, 77 (6th Cir. 2004); United States v. Namer, 238 F.3d 425 (6th Cir. 2000) (table). The Government does not argue that Baltazar-Martinez is a danger to the community.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Baltazar-Martinez makes two arguments in support of his release. First, he argues that because the Government could not have satisfied the requirements of 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f), no detention hearing should have occurred in the first place. Second, Baltazar-Martinez argues that there are conditions that would reasonably assure his future appearance in court. The Court will take each argument in turn.

         A. The Government Has Satisfied § 3142(f)'s Requirements.

         Baltazar-Martinez argues that no detention hearing should have been conducted in the first place, because the Government cannot satisfy any of the requirements of § 3142(f). This argument is a nonstarter.

         Section 3142(f) requires, in part, a judicial officer to hold a hearing to determine whether any condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant in court. Section 3142(f) has two sections, the first of which is inapplicable to the present case. Section 3142(f)(1) enumerates cases in which a rebuttable presumption arises in which no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(1) & (e). Baltazar-Martinez's case does not fall under any of the § 3142(f)(1) provisions. Here, the Government moved for Baltazar-Martinez's detention under the second section of § 3142(f), specifically § 3142(f)(2)(A). That provision requires a judicial officer to hold a detention hearing “upon motion of the attorney for the Government or upon the judicial officer's own motion, in a case that involves - a serious risk that such person will flee.”

         There is no question that the magistrate judge followed the requirements of § 3142(f). The Government moved for detention arguing that Baltazar-Martinez is a serious flight risk. The magistrate judge subsequently held a detention hearing and made a flight-risk determination. This Court agrees with the magistrate judge that the Government is not required to make an evidentiary proffer before a detention hearing can even be set, and ...


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