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United States v. Hughes

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

August 7, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
BRANDON LAMONT HUGHES, Defendant.

          R. Steven Whalen United States Magistrate Judge

          OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S PRETRIAL DETENTION ORDER

          Hon. Gershwin A. Drain United States District Court Judge

         I. Introduction

         On 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.

         Hughes 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.

         II. Background

         On 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. Id.

         Subsequently, 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.

         The 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 Firearm.

         III. Discussion

         Title 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 [1] the appearance of the person as required and [2] the safety of any other person and the community.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)(1).

         In 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.

         1. Nature and Characteristics of the Charged Offense

         Hughes 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 ...


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