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United States v. Bobbitt

United States District Court, Second Circuit

June 17, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
MICHAEL BOBBITT, Defendant.

DECISION AND ORDER

HUGH B. SCOTT, Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Pending before the Court is a motion (Dkt. No. 928) by defendant Michael Bobbitt for reconsideration of detention and release on reasonable bail conditions. Defendant's new counsel urges the Court to revisit certain detention factors, such as the absence of violent acts in the allegations of the Fourth Superseding Indictment; his denial of any attempt to escape arrest and his alternative explanation for what the Government perceived as an attempt to escape when arrested; and the Government's alleged exaggeration of his history of parole and probation revocations. Besides the detention factors, however, defendant notes that he has been in continuous federal custody since October 5, 2010-a span of over 32 months-and that further pretrial detention would be punitive and would constitute a due-process violation. The Government opposes release, stressing that much of the delay in this case resulted from defense requests for extensions of time and defendant's request to change appointed counsel, a request that the Court granted on April 5, 2013. The Government also emphasizes that due-process analysis follows no bright-line rules as to when detention becomes excessive.

The Court held oral argument on June 13, 2013. For the reasons below, the Court denies the motion but without prejudice to revisit detention if the Government has not arranged for defendant's trial to begin on or before January 15, 2014.

II. BACKGROUND

A. History of Charges Against Defendant

The docket for this case contains numerous discussions of the charges facing this defendant and other defendants. The Court will not repeat those discussions beyond noting very generally that the case concerns charges that defendant and others operated and supported a violent street gang in the City of Buffalo named the Tenth Street Gang. The allegations across all defendants include allegations of murders, attempted murders, assaults, drug sales, and firearm possession. On September 15, 2010, the Government filed a Second Superseding Indictment in this case (Dkt. No. 69) that added defendant for the first time and contained two counts against him. In Count One, the Government accused defendant of racketeering conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d). The Government further alleged the following overt acts by defendant in furtherance of the conspiracy:

1. On or about July 23, 2006, defendants FORD and MICHAEL BOBBITT trespassed in the upper apartment of 257 Whitney Place, which apartment contained a box, plate, and a razor blade containing cocaine residue, in the neighborhood controlled by the 10th Street gang. (Dkt. No. 69 at 16.)
2. On or about August 20, 2008, defendant MICHAEL BOBBITT possessed a Sturm Ruger 9mm semi-automatic pistol and a Kel-Tec 9mm semi-automatic pistol in Buffalo, New York. ( Id. at 21.)
3. On or about July 11, 2009, defendants FORD, MICHAEL BOBBITT, and BRANDON BOBBITT congregated outside of a corner store located at 225 Virginia Avenue, Buffalo, New York, in the neighborhood controlled by the 10th Street gang, at which time defendant BRANDON BOBBITT was in possession of a marijuana cigarette and defendant FORD was in possession of approximately $896 U.S. currency. ( Id. at 23.)
4. On or about August 23, 2009, defendants MICHAEL BOBBITT and BRANDON BOBBITT possessed 22 small plastic packages ("corners") containing a quantity of cocaine at 240 Niagara Street, in the neighborhood controlled by the 10th Street gang. ( Id. at 24.)
5. On or about November 30, 2009, immediately prior to PEEBLES' possession of a quantity of cocaine base, defendants FORD, MICHAEL BOBBITT, and BRANDON BOBBITT congregated on the corner of Whitney Place and Virginia Street and, at that time, defendant FORD was in possession of over $600 U.S. currency. ( Id. at 27.)

The Government also alleged, as a special factor for Count One, that defendant "did knowingly, willfully, and unlawfully, combine, conspire, and agree together and with others, known and unknown, to commit the following offenses, that is, to possess with intent to distribute, and distribute, 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing cocaine base, and 5 kilograms or more of a mixture and substance containing cocaine, Schedule II controlled substances, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 846, 841(a)(1), and 841(b)(1)(A)." ( Id. at 32-33.)

In Count 46 of the Second Superseding Indictment, the Government charged defendant and others with a conspiracy, under 21 U.S.C. § 846, "to possess with intent to distribute, and distribute, 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing cocaine base, a Schedule II controlled substance, 5 kilograms or more of a mixture and substance containing cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance, and a quantity of a mixture and substance containing marijuana, a Schedule I controlled ...


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