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United States v. Stein

United States District Court, D. Kansas

March 9, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
PATRICK EUGENE STEIN, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          ERIC F. MELGREN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Patrick Eugene Stein's motion for review of detention order. On February 24, 2017, the Court held a hearing on the motion. For the reasons stated below, the Court concludes that Stein shall remain detained pending trial. Accordingly, the Court denies Stein's motion for review of detention order (Doc. 69).

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         On October 19, 2016, the Grand Jury charged Stein with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, & 2332a(a)(2)(A), (B), (D). A superseding indictment was filed on December 14, 2016, charging Stein with two additional counts of carrying and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A).

         Magistrate Judge Gwynne E. Birzer held a detention hearing on October 21, 2016. After weighing the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g), Magistrate Judge Birzer ordered that Stein be held in custody pending disposition of this case. Stein filed this present motion for review of Magistrate Judge Birzer's detention order on January 31, 2017.[1] This Court conducted a hearing on Stein's motion on February 24, 2017.

         II. Legal Standards

         The District Court's review of a Magistrate Judge's order of detention is de novo, meaning this Court must ultimately decide the issue of detention or conditions for release without deference to the Magistrate Judge's conclusion.[2] Under the Bail Reform Act, the Court must order an accused's pretrial release, with or without conditions, unless it “finds that 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.”[3] Detention can be based on a showing by the Government of either: (1) that, beyond a preponderance of the evidence, the defendant poses a risk of flight; or (2) that, by clear and convincing evidence, the defendant poses a risk to the safety of any person or the community.[4]

         “[I]n determining whether there are conditions of release that will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of any other person and the community, ” the Court must take into account the following factors:

(1) the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, including whether the offense is a crime of violence . . . [or] a Federal crime of terrorism . . .;
(2) the weight of the evidence against the person;
(3) the history and characteristics of the person, including-
(a) the person's character, physical and mental condition, 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 record concerning appearance at court proceedings; and
(b) whether, at the time of the current offense or arrest, the person was on probation, on parole, or on other release pending trial, sentencing, appeal, or completion of sentence for an offense under Federal, State, or local law; and
(4) the nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or the community that would be posed by the person's release.[5]

         Congress has also created a rebuttable presumption that detention is appropriate in cases where, such as here, the defendant has been charged with certain offenses such as conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and carrying and using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.[6]

         III. Discussion

         Stein has been charged with one count of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, & 2332a, and two counts of carrying and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A). Under the Bail Reform Act, once probable cause has been established that certain crimes were committed, a rebuttable presumption is established that “no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of the community.”[7]

         The Act includes as “presumption” crimes any offense listed in 18 U.S.C. § 2332b(g)(5)(B) that is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or more.[8]The first count charged against Stein-conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction (18 U.S.C. § 2332a)-qualifies for the presumption under § 3142(e)(3)(C). Counts two and three, carrying, using, and possessing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1), qualify under § 3142(e)(3)(B). Thus, Stein has been charged with three crimes that carry a presumption of detention. Additionally, the Supreme Court has established that a grand jury indictment conclusively determines the existence of probable cause.[9] Therefore, the indictment satisfies the Government's preliminary burden to show probable cause for Stein, establishing the presumption of detention.

         “Once a presumption is invoked, the burden of production shifts to the defendant, but the burden of persuasion regarding risk-of-flight and danger to the community always remains with the government.”[10] “The defendant's burden of production is not heavy, but some evidence must be produced. Even if a defendant's burden of production is met, the presumption remains a factor for consideration by the district court in determining whether to release or detain.”[11]Regardless of whether the presumption applies, the Government's ultimate burden is to prove that no conditions of release can assure that the defendant will appear and to assure the safety of the community.[12]

         A. Stein's Burden to Rebut the Presumption of Dangerousness

         Here, Stein has satisfied his burden of producing some evidence tending to demonstrate that he is not dangerous and he is not a flight risk. Regarding danger to the community, Stein pointed to the fact that he has not been charged with any violent crimes in the past fifteen years. In that time period, Stein was charged with two felonies for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, as well as a misdemeanor driving under the influence, speeding, driving with a suspended license, and failure to appear. While this evidence does not convince the Court that Stein is not a danger to the community, his burden at this stage is very light.[13] Accordingly, Stein's criminal history over the past fifteen years demonstrating a lack of violent crime constitutes “some evidence”[14] and Stein has met his burden of production.

         To show that he would not be a flight risk if released, Stein submitted an unusually comprehensive release plan designed to assure the Court that he would not violate the terms of release. In addition, Stein also demonstrated that he has no passport and the majority of his family lives in Kansas. Again, Stein's ...


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