Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Brizuela

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia

November 1, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
FELIX A. BRIZUELA, JR., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR BOND PENDING APPEAL [DKT. NO. 410]

          IRENE M. KEELEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On October 28, 2019, the defendant, Felix A. Brizuela, Jr. (“Brizuela”), moved for release on bond pending appeal of his conviction and sentence (Dkt. No. 410). Because he is currently scheduled to report to the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his sentence on November 2, 2019 (Dkt. No. 384), the Court directed the Government to respond to the motion by October 30, 2019 (Dkt. No. 413). Brizuela filed his reply the next day (Dkt. No. 425). After careful review of the parties' arguments, the Court finds that Brizuela has failed to satisfy the requirements of 18 U.S.C. § 3145(c) and DENIES his motion (Dkt. No. 410).

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 14, 2017, a jury convicted Brizuela of 15 counts of distribution of controlled substances outside the bounds of professional medical practice in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(C) (Dkt. Nos. 161, 163).[1] On September 3, 2019, the Court sentenced him to 48 months of imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release as to all 15 counts, those sentences to be served concurrently (Dkt. Nos. 380, 384). Brizuela timely filed his notice of appeal later that same day (Dkt. No. 386).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under 18 U.S.C. § 3145(c), a defendant subject to detention under § 3143(b)(2) may be released during the pendency of his appeal if (1) he satisfies the conditions of § 3143(b)(1) and (2) “it is clearly shown that there are exceptional reasons why such person's detention would not be appropriate.” Under 18 U.S.C. § 3143(b)(1), a defendant “who has been found guilty of an offense and sentenced to a term of imprisonment, and who has filed an appeal . . ., ” shall be detained, unless the court finds (A) by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant does not pose a flight risk or a danger to the community if released, and

(B) that the appeal is not for the purpose of delay and raises a substantial question of law or fact likely to result in--
(I) reversal,
(ii) an order for a new trial,
(iii) a sentence that does not include a term of imprisonment, or
(iv) a reduced sentence to a term of imprisonment less than the total of the time already served plus the expected duration of the appeal process.

         In the Fourth Circuit, a “substantial question of law or fact” is one that presents a “‘close question or one that very well could be decided the other way.'” United States v. Steinhorn, 927 F.2d 195, 196 (4th Cir. 1991) (quoting United States v. Giancola, 754 F.2d 898, 901 (11th Cir. 1985) (internal quotation marks omitted)).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Brizuela contends that (1) there are exceptional reasons that warrant his release, (2) he is not a flight risk or danger to the community, and (3) his appeal raises substantial questions of law and fact that likely will require a new trial (Dkt. No. 411 at 3-13). Because exceptional reasons do not warrant his continued release, and because his appeal does not raise a substantial question of law or fact, the Court concludes that Brizuela has failed to satisfy the requirements of § 3145(c).

         A. There are no “exceptional reasons” warranting Brizuela's release pending the outcome of his appeal.

         Section 3145(c) provides, in relevant part, as follows:

A person subject to detention pursuant to section 3143(a)(2) or (b)(2), and who meets the conditions of release set forth in section 3143(a)(1) or (b)(1), may be ordered released, under appropriate conditions, by the judicial officer, if it is clearly shown that there are exceptional reasons why such person's detention would not be appropriate.[2]

18 U.S.C. § 3145(c) (emphasis added) (footnote added). Thus, Congress has limited relief under § 3145(c) to defendants who (1) are subject to detention under §§ 3143(a)(2) or (b)(2); (2) meet the conditions of §§ 3143(a)(1) or (b)(1); and (3) clearly show that exceptional reasons exist warranting their release on appeal. Id.

         Here, Brizuela is subject to mandatory detention under § 3143(b)(2) because he has been found guilty of a controlled substances offense described in subparagraph 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(1)(C) (Dkt. No. 163), has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment (Dkt. No. 384), and has filed an appeal (Dkt. No. 386). 18 U.S.C. § 3143(b)(2). Therefore, he may only be released under § 3145(c) if he satisfies the conditions of § 3143(b)(1) and “it is clearly shown that there are exceptional reasons why [his] detention would not be ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.