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United States v. Anderson

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia

September 24, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
MARTIN ANDERSON, aka MARTIN THOMAS ANDERSON, aka MARTIN T. ANDERSON, aka MARTIN T. McNEIL, aka MARTIN T. McNEAL, aka JEFFREY BROWN, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER CONFIRMING PRONOUNCED RULINGS OF THE COURT AFFIRMING MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S DETENTION ORDER, OVERRULING DEFENDANT’S OBJECTIONS AND DENYING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO REVOKE PRETRIAL DETENTION ORDER

          FREDERICK P. STAMP, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Background

         The defendant, Martin Anderson (“Anderson”), is named in all three counts of a three-count indictment filed on June 4, 2019. ECF No. 1. On June 5, 2019, the defendant was arrested and on June 6, 2019, the defendant appeared before United States Magistrate Judge James P. Mazzone for his initial appearance on the indictment. ECF No. 6. At that time, the government moved to detain the defendant prior to trial. ECF No. 10. The Court entered an order of temporary detention pending a hearing pursuant to the Bail Reform Act. ECF No. 11. The Court then scheduled a detention hearing to take place June 10, 2019.

         At the conclusion of the detention hearing, the magistrate judge found that: (1) the defendant poses a danger to the community and a flight risk; (2) there is evidence that on the day of the defendant’s arrest for the charges in the indictment (ECF No. 1), the defendant attempted to evade arrest; (3) there is evidence that on the day of the defendant’s arrest for the charges in the indictment (ECF No. 1), the defendant was in a vehicle with persons who had been or were using illegal drugs; (4) the defendant has an admitted history of methamphetamine use; and (5) no bond conditions could be set to reasonably ensure the appearance of the defendant and the safety of the community. ECF No. 16 at 2.

         On July 10, 2019, the defendant filed objections to the magistrate judge’s detention order, asserting that the government failed to prove and articulate by clear and convincing evidence that no conditions of defendant Anderson’s release can reasonably assure the safety of the community and by preponderance of the evidence that there is no condition or combination of conditions that will reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance as required. ECF No. 26 at 2-3. The defendant also later filed a motion for reconsideration of the magistrate judge’s detention order, contending that the government has not met its burden to compel detention. ECF No. 34 at 3.

         The magistrate judge then entered an order denying the defendant’s motion for reconsideration of the detention order, finding that the government carried its respective burden of proof. ECF No. 35 at 2.

         On September 19, 2019, the defendant filed a motion for revocation of the detention order, contending that the government failed to show that defendant Anderson poses a flight risk and that the defendant is not a threat to the community. ECF No. 36 at 1-3. In the motion, the defendant requested a prompt hearing of this matter pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b). Id. at 1. On September 20, 2019, this Court set a detention hearing to take place Monday, September 23, 2019.

         At the hearing, the defendant first called the defendant’s fiancé, Tina Crawford (“Ms. Crawford”), as a witness. Ms. Crawford then testified that she has known the defendant for twenty years, and that if the defendant is released pending trial, the defendant would reside with her. Ms. Crawford stated that she has a car to provide the defendant transportation to and from any required appearances.

         The government then cross-examined Ms. Crawford. On cross-examination, Ms. Crawford indicated that she is aware that the defendant has had several felony convictions, specifically, the defendant’s prior convictions of vehicular eluding, and escape-attempt from felony pending. Ms. Crawford also testified that she works as an administrative assistant, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, from her townhouse that is located at 166 McAllen Lane, Triadelphia, West Virginia. Ms. Crawford further indicated that the defendant’s 3-year-old daughter would live with her, along with her 21-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter.

         Counsel for the defendant then presented argument asserting that the magistrate judge erred as to a finding of fact in concluding that the defendant is a danger to the community. Specifically, counsel for the defendant stated that the magistrate judge found that on the day of the defendant’s arrest, the defendant evaded, or attempted to evade arrest. However, counsel for the defendant stated that there is nothing in the record from the detention hearing held on June 10, 2019 that would establish that fact. Counsel for the defendant noted particular portions of the detention hearing testimony of Officer William Michael Lemon (“Officer Lemon”) from the West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation to establish that the defendant did not know that there was a warrant for his arrest. Among other things, counsel for the defendant noted that Officer Lemon did not turn on his lights, or take other similar actions, when arresting the defendant. Counsel for the defendant also noted that the defendant testified that due to his collaboration with the government, the defendant was afraid an individual may be following him. Therefore, counsel for the defendant requested that this Court revoke the magistrate judge’s detention order. Instead, counsel for the defendant stated that the defendant could be tracked by a GPS and regularly tested. Lastly, counsel for the defendant noted that under the Bail Reform Act, there is a preference for defendants not to be detained.

         The government then presented its argument contending that on the day the defendant was arrested, the defendant was driving in excess of the speed limit which caused another car to be run off the road. The government further noted the defendant was previously convicted of: (1) escape-attempt from felony pending on January 14, 2008; (2) escape-attempt from felony pending on April 12, 2010; and (3) vehicular eluding on August 13, 2007. The government noted that the defendant testified at the detention hearing held on June 10, 2019, that he illegally used and was in the company of persons who illegally used controlled substances. The government stated that Officer Lemon stated at the detention hearing held on June 10, 2019, that on the day of the defendant’s arrest, the defendant was speeding, a firearm was tossed by one of the individuals in the vehicle, and the firearm was later recovered. Moreover, the government stated that after the defendant’s vehicle came to stop, Officer Lemon had him at gunpoint. The government also stated that the defendant has been previously found “passed out” in a vehicle with three firearms. Although, the government noted that it had no issue with Ms. Crawford’s residence, the government asserted that the defendant is a flight risk and a danger to the community if released. Therefore, the government requests that this Court affirm the magistrate judge’s detention order and deny the defendant’s motion to revoke the detention order.

         In argument in reply, counsel for the defendant noted that the prior convictions were over ten years old, and that this Court should not use such criminal history in deciding whether to grant the defendant’s motion to revoke the detention order. Counsel for the defendant noted that the government does not dispute that Officer Lemon did not turn on his lights, or take other similar actions, when arresting the defendant.

         II. Standard of Review

         “When the district court acts on a motion to revoke or amend a magistrate judge’s pretrial release order, the district court acts de novo and must make an independent determination of the proper pretrial detention or conditions of release.” United States v. Stewart, 19 Fed.Appx. 46, 48, 2001 WL 1020779 ...


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