United States District Court, D. Arizona
G. Campbell United States District Judge
Matthew Francis Leonard has appealed Judge Eileen
Willett's detention order. Doc. 19. The government has
filed a response (Doc. 31), and defense counsel has informed
the Court's staff that no reply will be filed. No party
has requested a hearing.
Court's review of the detention decision is de
novo. See United States v. Koenig, 912 F.2d
1190, 1192-93 (9th Cir. 1990). The Court must “review
the evidence before the magistrate” and any additional
evidence submitted by the parties “and make its own
independent determination whether the magistrate's
findings are correct, with no deference.” Id.
at 1193. Under the Bail Reform Act of 1984, Defendant must be
detained if the Court finds that no condition or combination
of conditions will reasonably assure his appearance at trial
or the safety of the community. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e).
Willett detained Defendant as both a danger to the community
and a flight risk. Doc. 13. The government contends that the
Court should affirm on both grounds. The government must
prove that Defendant is a danger to the community by clear
and convincing evidence, 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f), and that
he is a flight risk by a preponderance of the evidence,
United States v. Motamedi, 767 F.2d 1403, 1406 (9th
may proceed by proffer at a detention hearing under the Bail
Reform Act. United States v. Cabrera-Ortigoza, 196
F.R.D. 571, 574 (S.D. Cal. 2000) (collecting authorities). In
this case, both parties provide various exhibits and factual
proffers in their filings. No party has requested an
evidentiary hearing, and Defendant has not objected to the
proffers or exhibits in the government's response.
contends that he is a farmer on the Navajo reservation who
makes about $400 per month raising corn on his family farm.
He asserts that he is not a flight risk, having never
travelled far beyond the reservation, and that he is not a
danger to the community. His appeal asserts that the Facebook
posts cited by the government were made when he was young,
and mostly contain quotations from various rap songs. Doc.
government provides a detailed factual proffer, much of it
supported by exhibits. The government notes that Defendant is
an active member of the Red Skins Kings (RSK), a violent
criminal gang on the Navajo reservation. He is charged with
three counts: (1) misprision related to the murder of two
people (committed by his brother); (2) making material false
statements regarding his knowledge of RSK, its members, and
its activities; and (3) tampering with proceedings by
concealing his brother's location and helping him evade a
federal arrest warrant for murder.
government proffers the following additional facts. Citations
are to exhibits attached to the government's response;
footnotes are also from the response:
RSK is a violent criminal street gang that operates in
Lukachukai, Arizona, on the Navajo Indian Reservation. RSK
instills fear in the community by committing violent acts
such as murder and sexual assault. RSK uses social media to
threaten and intimidate those who would interfere with the
gang's criminal activities. RSK members show their gang
allegiance by wearing maroon or Washington Redskins clothing;
claiming status as “westside” or
“WS”; or getting tattoos of “RSK, ”
“Kingz, ” “XIV, ” or a crown. RSK
graffiti appears in stretches of up to sixty miles on the
Defendant is an admitted member of RSK, and he appears to be
the acting leader of the gang. His brother, D.L., was the
leader of RSK, but he is currently incarcerated pending trial
for a RICO conspiracy, multiple murders and other related
charges in case number, CR 15-8076-PCT-DGC. On July 18, 2015
(when Defendant's brother was actively evading arrest),
Defendant posted on Facebook, “I'm the king right
now.” (Ex. 2 at 4.) D.L. was arrested ten days later in
Tempe, Arizona. Since his brother's incarceration,
Defendant got a crown tattoo on his back. (Ex. 4 at 3.) One
of Defendant's Facebook names is “Mathew Last King
Leonard.” (Ex. 2 at 1.) Defendant has sought to recruit
new members for the gang (id. at 4-5), leading law
enforcement to believe that he is helping his brother to run
the gang while his brother is in jail. Both of
Defendant's parents are also members of RSK (see Ex. 5
re: his father), and his mother is also incarcerated pending
trial on a RICO charge in the case cited above.
In December 2014, Defendant's brother murdered two
people, D.C. and R.H. He shot them, took them to a wash,
dismembered them, and burned them in the middle of the night.
During this attack, he was communicating with Defendant and
his parents on the phone. Two days later, Defendant posted on
Facebook, “Snitches end up in ditches” and
“I hear a lots of haters talking when I'm not
around, I'm come up and let that choppa chop em down.
#ThisLifeiLead.” (Ex. 3 at 5.) In February 2015, Defendant
told law enforcement that he knew nothing about the missing
men. When asked about his Facebook post in a subsequent law
enforcement interview, Defendant responded, “fuck
‘em, snitches get what they have coming to
‘em.” During the February 2015 interview,
Defendant also told law enforcement that he did not know what
“Kingz” or RSK were, and that he did not know how
to contact K.G., an RSK member who was a suspect with
Defendant's brother in a separate murder investigation.
K.G. is also indicted in the RICO conspiracy case.
Approximately one month prior, on January 8, 2015, Defendant
and K.G. were stopped together with a number of weapons in
that murder victim's car. The car had the victim's
blood in it.
Defendant later admitted that he is in fact a member of RSK,
and phone records show that he had regular contact with
murder suspect, K.G. Defendant's affiliation with RSK is
documented on social media and through his tattoos. For
example, in 2015, Defendant posted “Kingz until the day
I D-I-E, XIV for eternity, official Scrap Killa and to all
you smurfs. Hide before my bullets find you…
#RSKXIV.” (Ex. 2 at 3.) When the FBI began to
investigate one of his brother's murder cases, Defendant
posted on Facebook, “me and my niggas don't
tell.” (Ex. 3 ...