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United States v. Parker

United States District Court, W.D. New York

December 15, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
RONNIE PARKER, Defendant

Page 359

For Ronnie Parker, Defendant: Steven G. Slawinski, LEAD ATTORNEY, Federal Public Defender, Rochester, NY.

For USA, Plaintiff: Craig R. Gestring, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Attorney's Office, Rochester, NY.

Page 360

DECISION AND ORDER

ELIZABETH A. WOLFORD, United States District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Defendant Ronnie Parker (" Defendant" ) is charged in a one-count indictment with violating 18 U.S.C. § 871 by allegedly threatening the life of the President of the United States. (Dkt. 11). After remaining in custody for close to 8 months, Defendant was released to reside at a residential facility for mentally ill individuals, with various conditions in place. Within a matter of days, Defendant violated those conditions. The Government sought to revoke Defendant's pretrial release, and the United States Magistrate Judge granted that application, remanding Defendant into custody.

Defendant now seeks review of that detention order pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b). (Dkt. 32). Because the standard for revocation of Defendant's release was met pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3148(b), detention is appropriate in this case and Defendant shall remain in custody pending the trial in this action.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Defendant was arraigned on February 28, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with violating 18 U.S.C. § 871 for allegedly threating the life of the President of the United States. (Dkt. 1). The basis for the complaint was Defendant's alleged statements to a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service, Joel D. Blackerby, and others that " he was going to shoot and kill the President. ... " ( Id. at 3). Agent Blackerby apparently learned of the alleged threats when, on February 6, 2014, he was contacted by staff at the Clifton Springs Hospital in Clifton Springs, New York, who advised that Defendant, who suffers from schizophrenia, had been admitted that day because " he had been hearing voices, some of which told him to kill the president." ( Id. at ¶ 4). Defendant allegedly voluntarily " requested hospitalization because he was afraid and didn't want to act out what the voice was telling him to do." ( Id.).

The next day, Agent Blackerby interviewed Defendant at the hospital. ( Id. at ΒΆ 5).

Page 361

Among other things, Defendant allegedly told Agent Blackerby that he had begun to think about killing the President a few days earlier " after the voices started telling him to 'find him and kill him.'" ( Id. at ¶ 7). According to Agent Blackerby:

[Defendant] spoke clearly about his plan. He stated he would need to find the President's schedule on the internet, find a gun then travel to where he was. He stated he " would have to wait till [the President] got out of the motorcade or came to shake hands." He further stated that he " ... would have to kill all the people around [the President] to get to him." He advised that he would find a gun and shoot the President if he came by today.

( Id.). Defendant allegedly told Agent Blackerby that the voice who spoke to him about killing the President was named " DALLAS." (Dkt. 1 at ¶ 9).

On March 27, 2014, a detention hearing was held before the Honorable Marian W. Payson, United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of New York, as was the Government's motion for a psychiatric examination and hearing to determine Defendant's competency pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241. (Dkt. 10). On April 10, 2014, a grand jury returned a single count indictment charging the Defendant with violating 18 U.S.C. § 871 as a result of the various alleged statements made to Agent Blackerby while he was interviewed at the Clifton Springs Hospital. (Dkt. 11). That same day, Defendant was arraigned on the indictment, and Judge Payson granted the Government's motion for a competency evaluation. (Dkt. 15).

Defendant was evaluated at the Federal Medical Center, Devens, Massachusetts, resulting in a Forensic Report dated July 29, 2014. (Dkt. 17). Based upon that report, and by Report and Recommendation dated August 14, 2014, Judge Payson recommended that Defendant be determined competent to stand trial. (Dkt. 18). This Court issued an Order on September 8, 2014, adopting the Report and Recommendation. (Dkt. 23).

A bail review hearing was held on August 29, 2014, and Judge Payson set conditions of release, requiring Defendant to remain at a supervised residential facility for mentally ill individuals, Lakeview Mental Health (" Lakeview" ) located at 193 Parrish Street in Canandaigua, New York. (Dkt. 21, 22). The audio transcript from the hearing on August 29, 2014, reflects that Judge Payson reviewed each condition of release with Defendant, and Defendant indicated his agreement to comply with the conditions as well as his understanding that a violation of the conditions would result in his detention. Similar assurances were given by Defendant a week earlier in response to Judge Payson's questions at a status conference held on August 21, 2014, where the anticipated release was discussed. (Dkt. 20).

The Order entered by Judge Payson setting the conditions of release required, among other things, that Defendant comply with the following:

1. Not commit any offense in violation of federal, state or local law;
2. Remain at Lakeview and comply with the facility's rules and regulations;
3. Refrain from use or unlawful possession of narcotics or other controlled substances unless prescribed by a ...

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