United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ADDRESSING DEFENDANT'S
MOTION TO REVIEW AND AMEND ORDER OF CONDITIONS (DOC.
D. Crabtree, United States District Judge.
Stacy A. Vasko has asked the court to review and amend the
Order Setting Conditions of Release (Doc. 6) entered by
United States Magistrate Judge Angel Mitchell on August 20,
2019. See Doc. 8. After reviewing the parties'
filings on this motion and hearing their oral arguments during a
hearing on September 3, 2019, the court grants Ms.
Vasko's motion in part and denies it in part.
Specifically, the court vacates the August 20 Order (Doc. 6)
and replaces it with the Amended Order Setting Conditions of
Release filed contemporaneously with this Order as Doc. 13.
That Amended Order now establishes the conditions that apply
to the defendant while released and pending trial.
Memorandum and Order outlines the court's reasons for its
Vasko makes two related but nonetheless distinct arguments.
The first one operates at a broad and general level. It
contends that the court "shall order" pretrial
release of the defendant on "personal recognizance"
or on unsecured bond unless the judicial officer determines
that: (1) such a release will not "reasonably
assure" the defendant's appearance as required, or
(2) "will endanger the safety of any other person or the
community" as a whole. See 18 U.S.C. §
3142(b). This proposition isn't controversial for §
3142(b) says as much. Because the government has failed to
demonstrate either predicate Ms. Vasko argues that the court
erred by imposing any conditions on her. Ms. Vasko's
second argument, something of a backstop, contends that even
if some conditions are warranted, the conditions adopted in
Doc. 6 are far too broad and thus impermissibly intrude on
her freedom. This result, she argues, contradicts § 3
l42(c)(B). This provision requires the court-even when it
concludes that conditions are required to assure reasonably
the appearance of the defendant or protect the safety of any
person or the community as a whole-to adopt "the least
restrictive . . . condition, or combination of
conditions" that will accomplish those two outcomes.
THE CURRENT CHARGE AGAINST MS. VASKO AND HER HISTORY AND
Indictment charges that Ms. Vasko, while employed by the
United States Postal Service, "embezzled, stole, and
removed letters and mail, and articles and things
contained" in it, namely, "gift cards, entrusted to
her" which she had come to possess when deposited as
mail. Doc. 1 at 1. It thus accuses Ms. Vasko of committing a
felony under § 1709 of Title 18 of the United States
Code. If convicted on this charge, Ms. Vasko faces a sentence
no greater than five years in federal prison and restitution,
among other things. A summons directed Ms. Vasko to appear in
court on this charge (Doc. 2), and she did so on August 12,
Pretrial Services Report about Ms. Vasko concluded that she
has lived in Salina, Kansas, for the last 16 years.
Currently, she lives with her two sons, the youngest one born
just a few weeks ago. She has "regular contact"
with her parents and "weekly contact" with her
sister, who lives in a nearby town. Ms. Vasko works as a
housekeeper at Presbyterian Manor in Salina, a facility
providing various levels of living options to seniors. She
has held this job since February 2019.
report also finds that Ms. Vasko has four criminal
convictions, though some of them later were expunged under
state law. Her convictions are for: Disorderly Conduct (2006,
sentenced to five days incarceration); a traffic violation
(2006); Theft by Deception from Three Businesses within 72
hours (2008, suspended sentence of six months incarceration);
and Theft of Property or Service (2012, sentence unreported).
More recently, about four months ago, Ms. Vasko was charged
with Driving Under the Influence, Following Too Closely, and
"Liability Insurance." These charges are currently
pending before the Municipal Court of Salina, Kansas. Ms.
Vasko reported to the Pretrial Services Officer that she was
under the influence of Ambien prescribed for her by her
mental health provider-in other words, she had not consumed
alcohol or some other form of a drug of abuse. Also, she
reported that she has discontinued use of Ambien.
Vasko reported that she has participated in therapy with a
mental health provider for the last 12 months, including,
currently, outpatient treatments. Also, she reported that she
has received mental health treatment since 2008 and currently
takes two medications prescribed for her by her provider.
Otherwise, she reports, she is in "excellent physical
health" and experiencing no current medical problems.
court discusses other aspects of Ms. Vasko's history and
characteristics, as relevant to the court's analysis of
the current motion, elsewhere in this Order.
DOES THE RECORD SUPPORT THE CONDITIONS IMPOSED ON MS.
Order Setting Conditions of Release (Doc. 6) imposed nine
conditions on Ms. Vasko. Doc. 6 at 1-2. She disputes three of
them. They are the conditions requiring her to: (a)
"submit to supervision by and report for supervision to
the Pretrial Services Office" of the United States
Probation Office; (b) "continue or actively seek
employment;" and (c) "get medical or psychiatric
treatment as deemed advisable by Pretrial Services."
See Doc. 6 at 2. Ms. Vasko's motion does not
challenge the other six conditions imposed by Doc. 6,
this Order reimposes each one of those six conditions.
first question the court must decide is whether the
government has discharged its threshold burden. That is, has
it demonstrated that release on personal recognizance without
conditions-except for those forbidding further crimes and
requiring DNA collection-"will not reasonably assure the
appearance of the [defendant] as required or will endanger
the safety of any other person or the community." §
3142(b). Subsection (g) ...