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United States v. McGaughy

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

October 1, 2019

United States, Plaintiff,
Jhamall Keshan McGaughy, Defendant.


          Hon. Gershwin A. Drain United States District Court Judge

         I. Introduction

         On March 27, 2018, Defendant Jhamall Keshan McGaughy (pronounced me-goi) was charged in an indictment with multiple counts of commercial sex trafficking and related interstate transportation charges, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a)(1); and 18 U.S.C. § 2421(a), respectively. ECF No. 12. He previously made an initial appearance on the Complaint and consented to federal detention. ECF No. 10.

         A First Superseding Indictment was issued on July 19, 2018, modifying only which sections of 18 U.S.C. § 1591 applied to the commercial sex trafficking charges: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591(a)(1), (b)(1). ECF No. 20. The substance of the Government's allegations was maintained. ECF No. 84, PageID.348.

         Following the First Superseding Indictment, Magistrate Judge David Grand denied bond to Defendant. ECF No. 35. Magistrate Judge Grand found that Defendant failed to offer sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption of detention under 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)(3). Id. at PageID.125. Specifically, Magistrate Judge Grand determined that Defendant posed a danger to the community based on the nature of his offense which involves his “alleged use of drugs and violent physical assaults to keep his victims performing commercial sex acts.” Id. Furthermore, he denoted the Government's “strong evidence” of Defendant's alleged use of violence in the instant case as well as his lengthy criminal history. Id. Finally, Magistrate Judge Grand weighed the significant sentence which Defendant faces if convicted. Id.

         Since the time of his initial consent to detention in March 2018 and Magistrate Judge Grand's decision to deny bond in November 2018, the Government has filed three superseding indictments. The Fourth Superseding Indictment, filed on May 14, 2019, charged Defendant with four violations of the Controlled Substances Act, including conspiracy to distribute controlled substances-more than 100 grams of heroin and more than twenty-eight grams of crack cocaine-with co-defendant Michael Anthony Frost, 18 U.S.C. §§ 841, 846; distribution of controlled substances, 18 U.S.C. § 841; and two counts of distribution of controlled substances to pregnant individuals, 21 U.S.C. § 861(f). Defendant was also charged with six counts of commercial sex trafficking, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591(a)(1); (b)(1); and one count of obstruction of justice, 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(1), for attempting to destroy his cell phone with the intent to damage its availability in later proceedings. See ECF No. 65.

         Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Bond, filed on July 26, 2019. ECF No. 84. The Government filed a Response on August 9, 2019. ECF No. 89. A hearing on Defendant's Motion was held on September 30, 2019. For the reasons that follow, the Court will DENY Defendant's Motion [#84].

         II. Factual Background

         The instant action stems from an alleged drug and prostitution enterprise in the Eastern District of Michigan and elsewhere during the latter half of 2017 and the first two months of 2018. Defendant allegedly ran this enterprise to generate demand and cash for the women working under his control as prostitutes to purchase drugs. ECF No. 65, PageID.216. He posted online advertisements for the prostitutes, including Id. He set the prices, time periods, and specific sexual acts for the prostitutes' “dates.” Id.

         The enterprise moved around metro-Detroit for several months in 2017, shifting between various hotels before settling in a house on Cheyenne Street, owned by co-defendant Michael Frost, in December 2017. ECF No. 89, PageID.373. Co-defendant was a “regular supplier” of controlled substances, including heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine, to Defendant. ECF No. 65, PageID.216. Defendant then allegedly provided the prostitutes with access to these drugs in return for their sexual acts. ECF No. 89, PageID.373. He “controlled [the] prostitutes” by supplying drugs to them in order to “increase their dependence on the drugs, and then restricting or cutting off [their] access[.] By this means, [Defendant] kept the women working for him on the edge of being ‘dopesick'[.]” ECF No. 65, PageID.216. When this control was no longer sufficient, Defendant allegedly resorted to physical violence. ECF No. 89, PageID.374. Six women reported Defendant's use of such violence. Id. Several other women further described being punched, raped, or witnessing other women being victimized. Id.

         Defendant is a thirty-five-year-old native of the district. Pretrial Services Report, at 1. He has familial ties to the area, including his father, eldest child, and grandmother. Id. at 2. His mother and two siblings reside in Georgia. Id. at 1. Defendant has an employment history working as a repair technician at bowling alleys in the Detroit area. ECF No. 35, PageID.354. He claims he can procure employment at Sister's Spit Shine should he be released on bond. Id.

         Defendant reported a substance abuse history beginning at age fourteen, including alcohol, cannabinoids, and ecstasy, to Pretrial Services. Pretrial Services Report, at 3. Defendant also has a criminal history in Michigan and Georgia. He has convictions for obstructing police, four drug offenses, domestic violence, and receipt of stolen property. Id. at 4-6.

         At the time of his arrest in the instant case, Defendant was on probation, wearing a tether, for drug offenses in Genesee County and for receiving stolen property charges out of Macomb County. ECF No. 89, PageID.379. Defendant's tether was affixed to Co-defendant's house address in Detroit: the alleged site of the drug and prostitution enterprise. Id. at PageID.380.

         Defendant now moves this Court, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b), to revoke Magistrate Judge Grand's prior order of detention and to issue an order releasing him on bond pending trial, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142(a). ECF No. 84, PageID.347. First, Defendant maintains that he poses neither a danger to the community nor a risk of flight under 18 U.S.C. § 3142(c) since he has strong family ties in Michigan that can provide him with both a stable residence and an ability to reestablish employment. Id. at PageID.348. He emphasizes that conditions can be imposed to alleviate concerns. Id. Second, Defendant argues that his continued pretrial detention amounts to “punitive detention” given the delays in the prosecution of this case. Id. at PageID.349.

         The Government represents that Magistrate Judge Grand's order indicates how strong the evidence against Defendant was at the time of the First Superseding Indictment. Since then, Defendant faces additional and more aggravated drug and commercial sex trafficking charges, some carrying their own presumption of detention. ECF No. 89, PageID.380. The Government argues that Defendant fails to offer compelling evidence to rebut these presumptions or to assure the Court that he no longer presents a community threat or flight risk. Id.

         III. Legal Standards

         A. The Bail Reform Act

         Title 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b) allows the district judge to review an order detaining a defendant. This review is a de novo hearing. U.S. v. Delker, 757 F.2d 1390, 1394 (3d Cir. ...

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