United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
FRANK P. GERACI, JR. CHIEF JUDGE.
Government appeals Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J.
McCarthy's order releasing Defendant Latisha Williams
from pretrial detention. See ECF Nos. 151, 154. For
the reasons that follow, the Government's appeal is
April 19, 2017, Defendant Williams and two codefendants were
indicted for cocaine trafficking. ECF No. 1. The DEA could
not initially locate Defendant, but the Erie County
Sheriff's Office learned that her brother, co-defendant
Lamel Williams, was selling cocaine at his home in Buffalo,
New York. ECF No. 155 at 2. When deputies from the
Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant of the home,
they found Defendant attempting to flush cocaine base down
the toilet. Id. They also discovered evidence of
distribution, including scales, baggies, and $18, 000 in
cash. Id. Finally, they recovered a firearm that had
been stolen from the Buffalo Police Department. Id.
at 3. The deputies discovered the gun in a cooler located
outside of the apartment's rear entry door and buried
under several other items. Id.; ECF No. 163 at 3.
April 28, 2017, the Court held a detention hearing. ECF No.
155 at 3. The Government and the U.S. Probation Office (USPO)
recommended Defendant's detention, although Judge
McCarthy questioned the extent to which Defendant posed
danger to the community, noting that the strength of the
evidence tying Defendant to the gun found outside of her
brother's house was weak. The Court set a follow-up hearing
date of May 2, 2017 for Defendant to post $7, 500 in bail and
find a residence with a landline where she could live. ECF
No. 155 at 4. Defendant could not meet those conditions at
that time, so Judge McCarthy ordered her detained on May 15,
2017 but informed her of her right to seek reconsideration
based upon changed circumstances. ECF No. 47 at 2.
federal Grand Jury returned a superseding indictment against
Defendant and her co-defendants on October 4, 2017. ECF No.
74. The indictment reflects the initial charges from the
August 2016 Complaint and those stemming from the discovery
of the stolen firearm outside of Lamel Williams's home.
5, 2018, Defendant moved for reconsideration of bail. ECF No.
148 at 4. Defendant's aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs.
Mixson, were willing to supervise Defendant at their home in
Lockport, New York. Id. Defendant stated that she
was close with the Mixsons, and they expressed full
confidence in her ability to comply with any terms of
supervised release.Additionally, both individuals were willing
to sign signature bonds for $20, 000. On June 11, 2018, Mr.
Mixson, Mrs. Mixson, and Defendant each signed a $20, 000
McCarthy's June 20, 2018 Order Setting Conditions of
Release requires home incarceration, forbids Defendant from
using any alcohol or drugs, requires her to submit to drug
testing and participate in substance abuse counseling, and
bars her from obtaining a passport, among other conditions.
ECF No. 162 at 2.
district court reviews a magistrate judge's release order
de novo. U.S. v. Leon, 766 F.2d 77, 80 (2d
Cir. 1985) (stating that the district judge should “not
simply defer to the judgement of the magistrate, but reach
its own independent conclusion”). The Court may rely on
the record of the proceedings before the magistrate judge and
also accept additional evidence. U.S. v. Colombo,
777 F.2d 96, 98 (2d Cir. 1985).
“generally favors bail release.” U.S. v.
Sabhani, 493 F.3d 63, 75 (2d Cir. 2007). Doubts about
the wisdom of release should be resolved in favor of
defendants. See Herzog v. U.S., 75 S.Ct. 349, 351
(1955). The Bail Reform Act requires a court to order
detention only if “no condition or combination of
conditions [of release] will reasonably assure the appearance
of the” defendant or “will endanger the safety of
any other person or the community.” 18 U.S.C. §
3142(e)(1). There is a rebuttable presumption that no
conditions of release could assure the defendant's
appearance or protect the community if the defendant is
charged with an offense “for which a maximum term of
imprisonment of ten years or more is prescribed in the
Controlled Substances Act.” Id. at §
3142(e)(3)(A). This rebuttable presumption applies to
Defendant, and she bears the burden of producing evidence
that she does not pose danger to the community or risk of
flight. U.S. v. Mercedes, 254 F.3d 433, 436 (2d Cir.
2001). The presumption will not disappear even if Williams
meets this burden but remains a factor for the Court to
a case where the statutory presumption applies, the
government retains two burdens of persuasion: 1) to establish
by “clear and convincing” evidence that the
defendant presents a danger to the community, and 2) to
establish by “a preponderance of the evidence”
that the defendant is a flight risk. Id. The Bail
Reform Act requires the district court to examine several
factors when determining whether the defendant has rebutted
the presumptions of flight and dangerousness, including the
nature and circumstances of the crime charged, the weight of
the evidence against the defendant, the defendant's
history and characteristics, and the nature and seriousness
of the danger to the community and/or to an individual.
See Id. at § 3142(g). When applying these
“factors to any particular case, ...