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United States v. Rodriguez-Sanchez

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

November 5, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
MISAEL RODRIGUEZ-SANCHEZ,

          ORDER

          ROYB. DALTON, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On September 30, 2019 U.S. Magistrate Judge Embry J. Kidd ordered Defendant Misael Rodriguez-Sanchez released from federal custody pending trial, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3145(a). (Doc. 10 (“Order”).) Upon the Government's motion, Magistrate Judge Kidd stayed Defendant's release while the Order was appealed. (Docs. 11, 15.) The Government then moved for revocation of the Order (Doc. 22 (“Motion”)) and Defendant responded (Doc. 36). The Court held a hearing on the Motion on October 28, 2019 (Doc. 50 (“Hearing”)), where it orally denied the Motion. This memorializes that ruling.

         I. Background

         Defendant was born in Guerrero, Mexico in 1973. (Doc. 21, p. 1.) He is a citizen of Mexico. (Doc. 22, p. 2.) While the circumstances of his immigration to the United States are unclear, he was first charged with operating a motor vehicle without a license in the United States in 2000. (Id. at 3.) Then followed a series of criminal charges, with allegations ranging from minor traffic violations to resisting an officer with violence, culminating in two charges of domestic violence that occurred about a month apart in 2010. (Id. at 3-4; see also Doc. 50.) Ultimately, however, Defendant was convicted only of the second domestic violence incident, where he plead guilty to a misdemeanor. (Doc. 22, pp. 4-5; Doc. 50.) Shortly thereafter, while being held at the Orange County Jail for failure to appear, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) officers took him into custody and removed him to Mexico on May 5, 2011. (Doc. 22, p. 5; Doc. 19, p. 17.)

         At some point, Defendant re-entered the United States. (Doc. 22, p. 2.) Before his most recent arrest for illegal re-entry, Defendant worked in concrete construction. (Doc. 19, p. 9:8-12.) He has been married to his wife for 30 years, but they have been separated the past 11 years. (Doc. 21, p. 1.) He has three adult children; he lives with his son and daughter-in-law (“North Main House”) and maintains daily contact with his other two children, all of whom reside in Apopka, Florida. (Id.) He co-owns the North Main House with his wife. (Doc. 50; see also Doc. 19, 12:2-4, 23:17-24.) Defendant's daughter, Josephina Rodriguez, is willing to be a third-party custodian for her father. (Doc. 19, p. 44:3-15.) If released from custody, Defendant would reside at her address in Apopka. (Doc. 50.)

         II. Legal Standard

         Upon request, a district court will promptly review a pretrial release order issued by a magistrate judge. 18 U.S.C. § 3145(a) (2018); U.S. v. Fuentes-Flores, No. 2:14-cr-66-FtM-38CM, 2014 WL 3908168, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 11, 2014). That review is de novo. Fuentes-Flores, 2014 WL 3908168, at *2; U.S. v. Hurtado, 779 F.2d 1467, 1481 (11th Cir. 1985). “Review by the district court contemplates an ‘independent consideration of all facts properly before it.'” U.S. v. Megahed, 519 F.Supp.2d 1236, 1241 (M.D. Fla. 2007) (quoting U.S. v. Gaviria, 828 F.2d 667, 670 (11th Cir. 1987)). The district court may undertake a careful review of the parties' papers and the evidence presented at the detention hearing or, if necessary, the Court “may marshal further evidence by convening a hearing.” Id. at 1241-42 (citation omitted). Here, the Court conducted a de novo review of the papers filed by the parties and the transcript of the hearing held before Magistrate Judge Kidd and held a hearing of its own. (Docs. 7, 22, 36, 50.) Upon this record, the Court denies the Motion.

         III. Analysis

         “In our society liberty is the norm, and detention prior to trial or without trial is the carefully limited exception.” U.S. v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739, 755 (1987). The Bail Reform Act, which governs if and how a defendant is to be released pretrial, presumes release is appropriate “absent a demonstration that the defendant is likely to flee or is a danger to the community.” U.S. v. Espinoza-Ochoa, 371 F.Supp.3d 1018, 1020 (M.D. Ala. 2019); see also 18 U.S.C. § 3142(b) (“The judicial officer shall order the pretrial release of the person . . . unless the judicial officer determines that such release will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required or will endanger the safety of any other person or the community.”). Detention is only appropriate when the Court “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 . . . .” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e).

         The Government bears the burden of establishing, by a preponderance of the evidence, Defendant is a serious flight risk. See U.S. v. King, 849 F.2d 485, 489 (11th Cir. 1988); U .S. v. Medina, 775 F.2d 1398, 1402 (11th Cir. 1985); U.S. v. Al-Arian, 280 F. S u pp. 2d 1345, 1347 (M.D. Fla. 2003). The burden on the Government is even higher if it seeks to detain Defendant because he is a risk to another person or to the community. The Government must show by clear and convincing evidence that “no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f); see also Medina, 775 F.2d at 1402; Al-Adrian, 280 F.Supp.2d at 1347.

         The Bail Reform Act enumerates four factors for the Court to consider when determining whether conditions of release can reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant and secure the safety of the community:

(1) the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, including whether the offense is a crime of violence, a violation of section 1591, a Federal crime of terrorism, or involves a minor victim or a controlled substance, firearm, explosive, or destructive device;
(2) the weight of the evidence against the person;
(3) the history and characteristics of the person, ...

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