United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Steven Whalen United States Magistrate Judge
OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S
PRETRIAL DETENTION ORDER
Gershwin A. Drain United States District Court Judge
April 9, 2019, the United States Government filed a Criminal
Complaint against Defendant Brandon Hughes, alleging he
violated 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) by being a Felon In
Possession of a Firearm. Dkt. No. 1. Hughes appeared before
Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen on July 30, 2019 for a bond
hearing, where the Magistrate found that no conditions
existed which could reasonably assure both Hughes'
appearance at future court proceedings and the safety of the
community. Accordingly, Magistrate Judge Whalen Ordered
Hughes detained pending trial.
now appeals Magistrate Judge Whalen's Order. A hearing on
the appeal was held on August 1, 2019. For the reasons stated
on the record, and set forth below, the Court will AFFIRM the
Pretrial Detention Order.
March 25, 2019, several City of Detroit Police Officers were
positioned in the area of East Milwaukee and Woodward Avenue
when they observed Defendant Hughes walking on the sidewalk
with a black nylon holster protruding from underneath his
shirt. Id. at p. 3 (Pg. ID 3). The Officers observed
Hughes look in their direction and then stop behind a black
Nissan vehicle that was parked. Id. With his right
hand, Hughes reached down to his hip and grabbed the black
holster. Id. This was followed by Hughes making an
upward motion, and then another, straight down to the ground.
the Officers, believing Hughes had just discarded a weapon,
got out of their vehicle and approached him. Id. The
Officers asked Hughes if he had a concealed permit license,
to which he replied, yes. Id. Hughes also told the
Officers that his firearm was in his car. Id. But
after checking the area near the black Nissan where Hughes
had been standing, the Officers recovered a black handgun
underneath the vehicle. Id.
Officers were later able to confirm that Hughes did not have
a concealed weapon permit. Id. at p. 4 (Pg. ID 4).
In addition, the Officers discovered that Hughes had five
felony convictions dating back to 2012. Id. Hughes
has thus been charged with being a Felon in Possession of a
18 of United States Code section 3145 permits a district
court to review a magistrate judge's detention order. 18
U.S.C. § 3145(b). “The default position of law . .
. is that a defendant should be released pending
trial.” United States v. Stone, 608 F.3d 939,
945 (6th Cir. 2010). Hence, pretrial detention should be
ordered only if a 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.” 18
U.S.C. § 3142(e)(1).
determining whether there are conditions which will
reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant and the
safety of the community, the district court must make
findings based on 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 posed by the person's release.
See 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g). Upon review of these
four factors, the Court finds that there are no conditions of
pretrial release that could reasonably assure Defendant
Hughes' appearance at future court proceedings or the
safety of the community.
Nature and Characteristics of the Charged Offense
is charged in this matter with being a Felon in Possession of
a Firearm, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). While
the unlawful possession of a firearm is not a crime of
violence, it certainly constitutes a serious crime. See
United States v. Peake-Wright, 567 Fed.Appx. 355, 357
(6th Cir. 2014) (finding the district court appropriately
considered “Congress's determination that
possession of a firearm by a felon should be treated very
seriously” and fairly assessed that “felons use
firearms in ways that are destructive”) (internal
citations omitted). This is especially true considering