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United States v. Patel

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

March 23, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ALKA PATEL (2), HETAL BAROT (3), SACHIN BAROT (4), BHAVESH PATEL (5), and DARSHAN PATEL (6), Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION ECF NO. 147

          MARY K. DIMKE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         On Wednesday, March 22, 2017, Defendants appeared, in custody, with their attorneys: Steve Hormel on behalf of Alka Patel; Nick Vieth on behalf of Hetal Barot; Phillip Wetzel on behalf of Sachin Barot; Gordon Stoa on behalf of Bhavesh Patel; and Mike Felice on behalf of Darshan Patel. The Defendants were assisted by court certified interpreter Dhaval Brahmbhatt. Assistant United States Attorney Russ Smoot represented the United States.

         Upon Motion of the Defendants, ECF No. 147, the Court conducted a detention hearing in reconsideration of the Court's previous orders of detention (ECF Nos. 123, 124, 125, 126, 127).

         The Court considered the Pretrial Services Reports and the Supplemental Pretrial Services Reports (ECF Nos. 86, 87, 90, 91, 94, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153) and the counsels' arguments. To decide whether conditions of release would reasonably assure the Defendants' appearance in court and the safety of the community, the Court considered and evaluated the four factors outlined in 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g):

1. The nature and circumstances of the offense;
2. The weight of the evidence against the Defendant;
3. The history and characteristics of the Defendant; and
4. The nature and seriousness of the danger the Defendant would present to the community if released.

         The Court finds the following:

         Findings of Fact and Statement of Reasons for Detention

         ☐ Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e), there is a rebuttable presumption that the Defendant is a flight risk and a danger to the community based on the nature of the pending charge. Application of the presumption is appropriate in this case. Defendant has not rebutted the presumption that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of another person or the community and/or no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the Defendant as required.

         ☒ This is not a rebuttable presumption case; however, the case is eligible for a detention hearing under 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(2). There is a serious risk that the Defendants will not appear.

         Here, the Court previously detained Defendants finding the United States established by a preponderance of the evidence that Defendants were a risk of non-appearance or flight. ECF Nos. 123, 124, 125, 126, 127. Defendants jointly moved to reopen the detention proceedings because Defendants secured temporary housing, which would be shared by all Defendants. ECF Nos. 147, 148.[1]

         In terms of the statutory factors, Defendants are each charged with a single count of Improper Entry by an Alien, in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1325(a)(1). The offense is a misdemeanor, the maximum penalty for which is six months, which typically weighs in favor of release. However, the nature and circumstances of the charge concerns the Court regarding Defendants' risk of non-appearance. In particular, Defendants are alleged to have entered the United States illegally, through an unauthorized border crossing, via the use of a hired smuggler. What became apparent during the hearing is a broader course of conduct exists which relates to the risk of flight or nonappearance. It appears that Defendants departed India illegally and entered Canada illegally before the charged conduct occurred (the alleged crossing from Canada to the United States).[2] While the charged offense might be only a misdemeanor, the ...


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