United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO REVOKE DETENTION
C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Robert Smith's
motion for revocation of Magistrate Judge Mary Alice
Theiler's detention order pending trial (Dkt. No. 71).
Having thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and
the relevant record, the Court finds oral argument
unnecessary and hereby DENIES the motion for the reasons
has been charged and is pending trial on two counts of
possession of a firearm by a felon, violations of 18 U.S.C.
§§ 2, 922(g)(1), and 924(a)(2). (Dkt. No. 16.) His
detention hearing was held before Magistrate Judge Theiler on
March 14, 2017. Pretrial services (PTS) recommended Smith be
detained pending trial. (Dkt. No. 4.) Following arguments,
Magistrate Judge Theiler ordered Smith be detained pending
trial, based on findings that Smith posed a risk of
nonappearance and a danger to the community. (Dkt. No. 12.)
The Judge made these findings despite evidence that Smith
owned his own home and had strong family ties in the area.
(Dkt. No. 70-1 at 14-19.)
moves for revocation of the order and release with
conditions. (Dkt. No. 71.) He claims Magistrate Judge Theiler
erred in deeming him a risk based on the evidence presented.
(Dkt. No. 70 at 3-6.) Smith also asserts his case must be
reexamined in light of newly-presented exculpatory evidence
and hardship resulting from his continued detention.
defendant ordered detained by a magistrate judge pending
trial may request that the court with original jurisdiction
either revoke or modify the detention order. 18 U.S.C. §
3145(b). The district court's review of a magistrate
judge's order under section § 3145(b) is de
novo, though the court “is not required to start
over in every case, and proceed as if the magistrate's
decision and findings did not exist.” United States
v. Koenig, 912 F.2d 1190, 1191-93 (9th Cir. 1990). The
Court should “review the evidence before the magistrate
and make its own independent determination whether the
magistrate's findings are correct, with no
Bail Reform Act provides that a court should detain a
defendant pending trial if “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(f). The United
States bears the burden of showing that a defendant poses a
danger to the community by clear and convincing evidence, and
it bears the burden of showing that a defendant poses a
flight risk by a preponderance of the evidence. United
States v. Gebro, 948 F.2d 1118, 1121 (9th Cir. 1991).
The Act identifies four factors that a court should consider
in analyzing detention issues: “(1) The nature and
circumstances of the offense charged, including whether the
offense . . . involves a narcotic drug; (2) the weight of the
evidence. . .; (3) the history and characteristics of the
person, including . . . family ties, employment, financial
resources, length of residence in the community, community
ties, past conduct, history relating to drug or alcohol
abuse, criminal history, . . .; and . . . (4) the nature and
seriousness of the danger to any person or the community that
would be posed by the person's release . . . .” 18
U.S.C. § 3142(g).
Court has reviewed this matter de novo and adopts
the findings and conclusions of the magistrate judge (Dkt.
No. 12). Given Smith's noncompliance while previously on
supervised release, along with his lengthy criminal history,
Smith currently poses a risk of nonappearance and a danger to
the community. The additional information Smith now presents
does not alter the Court's view.
now provides allegedly exculpatory evidence. This evidence
includes an admission letter from his alleged confederate,
asserting that Smith had no knowledge of the weapons the
confederate placed in Smith's vehicle. (Dkt. No. 70-1 at
4.) Smith also presents potential impeachment evidence
against the arresting officer. (Id. at 8.) This
evidence is insufficient to overcome the evidence presented
by the United States during the detention hearing. Smith made
inculpatory statements to officers other than the
arresting officer. (Dkt. No. 72 at 8-9.) Therefore, whether
the arresting officer could be impeached is of little
consequence. Nor is the confederate's statement
plausible, in light of Smith's statements to other
officers. In addition, physical evidence was discovered in
the vehicle that rebuts the confederate's current claim.
(Id.) Finally, the confederate's attorney has
indicated he would not testify under oath to his claim.
(Id. at 9.) Perhaps most importantly, the weight of
the evidence is the least important factor for the Court to
consider. U.S. v. Motamedi, 767 F.2d 1403, 1408 (9th
also claims personal hardship as a basis for the Court to
revoke detention; namely that his mother and his young son
live in his home and if he is not released he will be unable
to avoid foreclosure. (Dkt. No. 70 at 5.) While the Court
deeply empathizes with all involved, Smith fails to
persuasively argue how alleviating this hardship will reduce
his risk of nonappearance or the danger he poses to the
public. Smith was on supervised release in the past. (Dkt.
No. 72 at 3-4.) He presumably risked the same hardship at
that time. Yet he violated the conditions of his release and
had his release revoked on four separate occasions.
Court thus concludes that Smith poses a substantial risk of
nonappearance and a danger to the community, and that there
are no conditions of release that would reasonably address
these risks. Judge Theiler was correct in determining that
Smith should be detained pending trial and none of the
additional evidence Smith presents sways the Court to