U.S. v. Morales
When ruling on the government's request for pretrial detention, a court may consider: 1.) whether the defendant poses a risk of flight; and 2.) whether a combination of conditions exist that will assure the defendant's presence at trial. The government charged the defendant, Jose Morales, with conspiracy to possess, with intent to distribute, and distribution of heroin. If convicted on the drug charges, the defendant could be sentenced to 20 years in prison. The government is considering charging the defendant as a felon in possession of a shotgun, a .22-caliber gun and 100 rounds of ammunition. If convicted as a felon in possession of firearms, the defendant could be sentenced as an "armed career offender" to a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison. The defendant previously has been convicted 24 times. Defense counsel argued that the majority of the convictions took place prior to 2000; the defendant always appears in court; and the shotgun and pistol were discovered in an unused storage area. Defense counsel requested that the court release the defendant on a $100,000 bond, subject to home detention, supervised by his mother, and electronic monitoring. The defendant's wife, mother and another relative appeared at the pretrial detention hearing. The government objected that the defendant poses a risk of flight and a danger to the community. The government requested pretrial detention. Most of the defendant's criminal activity took place when he was on probation. The only significant gaps in the defendant's criminal activity took place when the defendant was in prison. The defendant's most serious criminal offenses were his most recent ones, which took place between 2006 and 2011. The defendant's current exposure dramatically exceeds that of his previous sentences. The defendant did not rebut the presumption that no condition will reasonably assure his appearance in court. The District Court found that the defendant poses a risk of flight, and it granted the government's motion for pretrial detention, without prejudice. The District Court did not consider whether the defendant poses a risk to the community.