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United States v. Travis

United States District Court, W.D. New York

July 21, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
LETORRANCE TRAVIS, Defendant.

DECISION AND ORDER

HUGH B. SCOTT, Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

In a prior case (11-CR-385), the Government charged defendant Letorrance Travis ("Travis") with cocaine conspiracy and possession occurring in 2011, with amounts exceeding five kilograms for the conspiracy and 500 grams for the possession and distribution. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah McCarthy ordered Travis released on conditions and maintained those conditions even when the Government argued for a bail violation. Magistrate Judge McCarthy rejected the argument for a violation, and Travis otherwise appears to have abided by his conditions of release.

The Government now has added Travis to this case, in a superseding indictment that adds allegations of overt acts by him that helped advance a much more serious conspiracy that included two murders. Because the allegations against Travis and his codefendants are more serious now, the Government has moved orally for revocation of bail. The Government argued that the new allegations rest on its continuing investigation and tip the balance in favor of finding Travis a flight risk and danger to the community. Travis responded that the potential penalties for the new charges do not differ significantly from those for the old charges, meaning that Travis poses no greater flight risk or danger than he did before. Travis also argues that the Government is ignoring the last several years of release on bail, when he in fact did not flee and did not endanger anyone. The Court has to resolve whether a superseding indictment can override a favorable bail history and whether the superseding indictment here actually does so.

The Court held a detention hearing on July 10 and 13, 2015. For the reasons below, the Court denies the Government's oral motion for detention.

II. BACKGROUND

This case concerns allegations that Travis and four others were members of the Schuele Boys, a neighborhood street gang that operated primarily in the East Side of the City of Buffalo. The Court notes briefly that a related case (14-CR-134) and the two indictments in this case detail the roles of numerous others in advancing the gang's narcotics distribution. Travis entered the Government's allegations through the superseding indictment. (Dkt. No. 17.) Three of the counts in the superseding indictment concern Travis. In Count One, the Government accused Travis of racketeering conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d). The Government attributed the following overt acts to Travis:

• On or about June 18, 2005, LETORRANCE TRAVIS, MARCEL WORTHY, and two associates were in a vehicle driven by LETORRANCE TRAVIS, when an unidentified gunman discharged a firearm at them in the vicinity of 1325 Fillmore Avenue, Buffalo, New York, near the neighborhood controlled by the Schuele Boys. ( Id. at 7.)
• On or before April 29, 2006, LETORRANCE TRAVIS, MARCEL WORTHY, and an associate drove to Edinboro, Pennsylvania, to visit AARON HICKS. Inside the vehicle was a quantity of marijuana and MARCEL WORTHY possessed on his person approximately $4, 000 in U.S. currency. ( Id. at 8.)
• On or about December 18, 2010, AARON HICKS and JULIO CONTRERAS were in a vehicle, transporting 669.5 grams of marijuana, when they stopped at a house belonging to LETORRANCE TRAVIS, at 118 Courtland Avenue, Buffalo, New York, in the neighborhood controlled by the Schuele Boys. ( Id. at 9.)
• Sometime in or about August 2011, AARON HICKS, LETORRANCE TRAVIS, MARCEL WORTHY, and RODERICK ARRINGTON, and others, at various locations in Buffalo, New York, including 272 Schuele Avenue, the vicinity of Courtland Avenue and East Delavan A venue, and the vicinity of Schuele Avenue and Northland A venue, all in the neighborhood controlled by the Schuele Boys, and at a local restaurant, staged and created multiple music videos, produced by G.O.N.E. ENT a/k/a Gone Entertainment, for songs entitled "Front Door" and "Dinner Table." In the videos, HICKS, TRAVIS, WORTHY, ARRINGTON, and associates displayed U.S. currency, suspected cocaine, and manpower, demonstrated the manufacturing of cocaine base, and paid tribute to deceased associates. ( Id. at 10.)
• On or about November 6, 2011, LETORRANCE TRAVIS possessed approximately 4 kilograms of cocaine in the vicinity of Forman Street, Buffalo, New York, near the neighborhood controlled by the Schuele Boys. ( Id. )
• On or about November 6, 2011, LETORRANCE TRAVIS possessed approximately 1.5 kilograms of cocaine at 68 Forman Street, Buffalo, New York, near the neighborhood controlled by the Schuele Boys. ( Id. at 11.) • On or about November 6, 2011, LETORRANCE TRAVIS possessed drug ledgers for his cocaine distribution at 19 Slate Creek Drive, Apartment 3, Cheektowaga, New York. ( Id. )
• On or about November 6, 2011, LETORRANCE TRAVIS possessed approximately $170, 000 in U.S. currency, proceeds of narcotics distribution, at 34 Crossman Avenue, Buffalo, New York, near the ...

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