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United States v. Garden

United States District Court, D. Idaho

June 28, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Plaintiff,
v.
CHRISTOPHER SCOTT GARDEN, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          Edward J. Lodge United States District Judge.

         INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court in the above-entitled matter is the Defendant's appeal from the Court's May 22, 2018 Detention Order (Dkt. 16) issued by Chief United States Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Bush. (Dkt. 17.) The parties have filed their respective briefing on the appeal. (Dkts. 20, 23). The Court has reviewed the record in this case including but not limited to the parties' briefs; the transcript of the May 15, 2018 detention hearing before Judge Bush (Dkt. 24); and the pre-trial services reports admitted into evidence at that detention hearing (Dkt. 15-1, 15-2). For the reasons stated herein, the Court denies the Defendant's appeal and affirms Judge Bush's Detention Order.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On April 17, 2018, the grand jury returned a two count Indictment charging Defendant, Christopher Scott Garden, with: (1) felon in possession of firearms and (2) possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. (Dkt. 1.) The alleged conduct giving rise to the charges occurred on March 21, 2018 while Mr. Garden was on state court supervision pursuant to a state court judgment dated November 27, 2017. (Dkts. 15-1, 15-2.) Meaning, less than four months after being sentenced and placed on supervision, Mr. Garden was arrested for possessing both drugs and firearms.

         Also on April 17, 2018, an Arrest Warrant was issued for Mr. Garden. (Dkt. 2.) The warrant was executed on Mr. Garden on May 9, 2018 at the Kootenai County Jail. (Dkt. 7.) The next day, May 10, 2018, the Government filed a Motion for Detention pending trial and Defendant was arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale who issued a temporary order of detention and set the matter for a detention hearing on May 15, 2018 before Judge Bush. (Dkts. 5, 8.)

         The United States Probation Office issued an initial pretrial service report on May 10, 2018 and a follow up report on May 15, 2018. (Dkts. 15-2, 15-2.) On May 15, 2018, Judge Bush held a detention hearing. (Dkts. 15, 24.) At that hearing, the Court reviewed the record, admitted the pretrial services reports into evidence, took judicial notice of the Indictment, and heard argument from counsel. (Id.) Ultimately, Judge Bush issued the Order of Detention Pending Trial (Dkt. 16) that is the subject of this appeal.

         First, Judge Bush determined that a rebuttable presumption in favor of detention applies pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §3142(e)(3). (Id.) Second, Judge Bush determined that Defendant had not put forth sufficient evidence to rebut that presumption in favor of detention and, in any event, the Government proved by clear and convincing evidence that no condition or combination of conditions of release would reasonably assure the safety of the community. (Id.) Judge Bush noted the following factors in favor of the detention decision: (1) weight of the evidence against defendant is strong; (2) Defendant is subject to a lengthy period of incarceration if convicted; (3) Defendant's prior criminal history; (4) Defendant's participation in criminal activity while on probation, parole, or supervision; (5) Defendant's history of alcohol or substance abuse; and (6) Defendant's prior failure to appear in court as ordered. (Id.)

         Defendant concedes that the rebuttable presumption of detention applies in this case but argues that presumption was rebutted by his viable release plan as well as: (1) his lengthy record of compliance while on supervision; (2) proffering facts that rebut his state probation officer's representation that his most recent performance on supervision was “dismal;” (3) inconsistencies with the state probation officer's representations; and (4) no record of violent or property crimes since 2006. (Dkt. 20.) Defendant also argues that the Government did not prove by clear and convincing evidence that no conditions of release could assure community safety. (Id.)

         The release plan presented at the detention hearing included assurances that Defendant would: (1) be released to his wife as third party custodian, (2) live at home with his wife and her two children, (3) return to work for his paternal aunt and uncle in construction, and (4) attend substance abuse testing and treatment. (Dkt. 15-2.) In addition to the release plan offered at the detention hearing, Defendant now offers the following, additional conditions of release: (1) GPS monitoring, (2) home detention except for preapproved activities, and (3) regular drug testing. (Id.)

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The Defendant's Motion is brought pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b), which provides that “if a person is ordered detained by a magistrate judge . . . the person may file, with the court having original jurisdiction over the offense, a motion for revocation or amendment of that order.” An appeal from a detention order, “is governed by the provisions of section 1291 of title 28 and section 3731 of this title.” 18 U.S.C. §3145(c). Further, “[t]he appeal shall be determined promptly.” Id.

         In reviewing the Magistrate Judge's decision, the district court does not exercise its appellate jurisdiction. United States v. Keonig, 912 F.2d 1190, 1192 (9th Cir. 1990). Rather, the district court reviews the matter de novo and without deference to the Magistrate Judge's findings. This is because the district court, “unlike a court of appeals, is equipped to explore and redetermine factual issues if that proves necessary.” Id.

         In exercising de novo review of the Magistrate Judge's Release Order, “the district court is not required to start over in every case . . . and proceed as if the magistrate's decision and findings do not exist.” Id. at 1193. At the same time, 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. at 1193. Moreover, the Court may conduct an additional evidentiary hearing. Id. “The point is that the district court is to make its own ‘de novo' determination of facts, whether different from or an adoption of the findings ...


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