United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Marie Christine
Fanyo-Patchou's motion for review of the detention order
of the Honorable Brian A. Tsuchida, United States Magistrate
Judge (Dkt. No. 108). Having considered the parties'
briefing and the relevant record,  the Court finds oral
argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS the motion and REVOKES
the detention order (Dkt. No. 70) for the reasons explained
September 2018 until November 2018, Ms. Fanyo-Patchou and two
codefendants allegedly conducted a campaign of harassment
against John Doe, a gay man from Cameroon who lives in
Seattle. (Dkt. No. 1 at 2-6.) As part of that alleged
campaign, Ms. Fanyo-Patchou purportedly disseminated
information about John Doe's sexual orientation-including
nude images of John Doe and his husband-to the Cameroonian
community. (See Id. at 3-6.)
November 14, 2018, the Federal Bureau of Investigations
interviewed Ms. Fanyo-Patchou “regarding her
[potential] involvement in a hate crime and subsequent
internet stalking.” (See Dkt. No. 110-5 at 2.)
The interviewing agents advised Ms. Fanyo-Patchou about the
nature of the interview and began to ask her about her
relationship with John Doe. (See Id. at 3.) It
appears, however, that Ms. Fanyo-Patchou ended the interview
quickly after the interviewing agents pressed her about her
claim that she did not learn that John Doe was gay until she
arrived in the United States. (See id.)
August 1, 2019, a federal grand jury indicted Ms.
Fanyo-Patchou and her two codefendants on charges of
cyberstalking in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
2261A(2)(A)-(B) and conspiracy to commit cyberstalking in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. (Dkt. No. 1 at 2-6.) Five
days later, Ms. Fanyo-Patchou was arrested in Washington,
D.C., and brought before a magistrate judge in the District
of Maryland. (Dkt. No. 108-1 at 2.) The judge ordered Ms.
Fanyo-Patchou detained and remanded to the custody of the
marshals for transport to Seattle. (Id. at 41.) Upon
Ms. Fanyo-Patchou's arrival in Seattle, the Government
moved to have her detained pending trial. (Dkt. No. 51.)
Pretrial Services disagreed with the Government's
position and recommended release to Maryland subject to
special conditions. (Dkt. No. 55 at 3-4.)
Tsuchida held a hearing on the Government's motion on
September 5, 2019. (Dkt. No. 108-4.) At the hearing, Judge
Tsuchida expressed his desire to explore options for having
Ms. Fanyo-Patchou released locally. (Id. at 24.) He
therefore set a hearing for September 11, 2019, to discuss
those options. (Id. at 27-28.) Over the next six
days, Pretrial Services explored the possibility of Ms.
Fanyo-Patchou being released locally. (See Dkt. No.
68 at 2-3.) Pretrial Services concluded that it would
“consider release” if Ms. Fanyo-Patchou secured
an appropriate release address in Seattle. (See Id.
at 3.) However, Ms. Fanyo-Patchou was unable to secure such
an address by the time of the September 11 hearing. (Dkt. No.
108-7 at 3-4.) Consequently, Judge Tsuchida stated orally
that he would order her detained “without prejudice,
” allowing Ms. Fanyo-Patchou to revisit the issue if
she later secured a lease on an apartment. (See Dkt.
No. 108-7 at 4-9.)
the September 11 hearing and detention order, Jake Epps, Ms.
Fanyo-Patchou's boyfriend and the father of her unborn
child, secured for her a lease on an apartment in Seattle.
(See Dkt. No. 110-4 at 4.) Ms. Fanyo-Patchou then
moved for Judge Tsuchida to reconsider his detention order.
(Dkt. No. 80.) But even though Ms. Fanyo-Patchou now had a
place to stay in Seattle, Judge Tsuchida denied Ms.
Fanyo-Patchou's motion. (See Dkt. No. 83.) Judge
Tsuchida concluded that due to her weak ties to the community
and the seriousness of her alleged offense, she posed a
serious risk of flight and a danger to the community.
(See Id. at 1-2.)
in rare circumstances should [pretrial] release be
denied.” United States v. Motamedi, 767 F.2d
1403, 1404 (9th Cir. 1985). These words reflect the essential
principle that “[i]n our society liberty is the norm,
and detention prior to trial is the carefully limited
exception.” United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S.
739, 755 (1987). That exception is to be invoked “only
for the strongest of reasons.” Sellers v. United
States, 89 S.Ct. 36, 38 (1969) (Black, J., in chambers).
Those reasons are not present in this case.
Standard of Review
magistrate judge initially orders a defendant detained
pending trial, the district court reviews the magistrate
judge's decision de novo. United States v.
Koenig, 912 F.2d 1190, 1192-93 (9th Cir. 1990). In this
context, de novo means that “the district
court should review the evidence before the magistrate and
make its own independent determination whether the
magistrate's findings are correct with no
deference.” Id. The district court may also
consider new evidence offered by the parties. Id.
Eligibility for a Detention Hearing
threshold matter, the Court must determine if Ms.
Fanyo-Patchou is eligible for a pretrial detention hearing. A
defendant is eligible for a detention hearing only if their
case falls into one of the categories listed in 18 U.S.C.
§ 3142(f). See United States v. Twine, 344 F.3d
987, 987 (9th Cir. 2003). “[T]he requisite [categories]
for invoking a detention hearing in effect serve to limit the
types of cases in which detention may be ordered prior to
trial.” United States v. LaLonde, 246
F.Supp.2d 873, 875 (S.D. Ohio 2003) (quoting S. Rep. No.
98-225, at 20 (1984)). Accordingly, unless the Government can
show by a preponderance of the evidence that a case falls
into one of those categories, the defendant cannot be
detained. See United States v. Friedman, 837 F.2d
48, 49 (2d Cir. 1988); United States v.
Villatoro-Ventura, 330 F.Supp.3d 1118, 1124 (N.D. Iowa
the Government argues that Ms. Fanyo-Patchou is eligible for
a detention hearing because (1) there is a serious risk that
she will obstruct justice, see § 3142(f)(2)(B);
(Dkt No. 113 at 9); (2) there is a serious risk that she will
flee, see § 3142(f)(2)(A); (Dkt. No. 113 at 8);
and (3) cyberstalking is a “crime of violence, ”
see §§ 3142(f)(1)(A), 3156(a)(4)(B); (Dkt
No. 113 at 8 n.9). The Court finds that the Government has
failed to establish a serious risk of obstruction but has
established a serious risk of flight. Consequently, Ms.
Fanyo-Patchou is eligible for a detention hearing, and it ...