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United States v. Ball

United States District Court, D. Arizona

November 13, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Brandon Trevor Ball, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Honorable John Z. Boyle United States Magistrate Judge.

         On October 25, 2018, an initial appearance was held for Defendant Brandon Ball. (Doc. 20.) On November 7, 2018, the Court heard argument from the parties regarding detention. The Court has also considered the pretrial service reports, both memoranda (docs. 44, 45), exhibits, and proffers of the parties. The Court finds Defendant's detention as a flight risk is required under the Bail Reform Act.

         I. Factual Background.

         Defendant, age 46, is an Arizona resident. He has prior convictions for Theft (1995), Assault (2004), and False Reporting to Police (2006). He has prior felony convictions for Theft of Means of Transportation (2004), Burglary (2004), and Possession of Marijuana (2007). Defendant has no noted international travel except for a vacation cruise.

         Defendant's family and friends were present in court on his behalf during the detention hearing. Almost a dozen people were present from the community, and several of those individuals wrote letters to the Court on Defendant's behalf. The Court reviewed the 13 letters contained in Defendant's memorandum. (Doc. 44.) Those individuals expressed an admiration for Defendant's sobriety and his substantial efforts assisting others in the sobriety community.

         But the Court also notes the government stated that its evidence demonstrates Defendant gambled millions of dollars (“up to nine million dollars”) at the Salt River Casinos. Defendant is unemployed. The government asserts that during “the execution of the search warrant on defendant's residence, agents found and seized nearly $80, 000 in U.S. currency in multiple locations in and around” his master bedroom. (Doc. 45 at 2.)

         II. The Bail Reform Act.

         The government seeks the detention of Defendant on the ground that he is a serious flight risk and no release condition or combination of conditions exist that would reasonably assure his appearance at future court proceedings if released. After considering the memoranda, exhibits, proffers, argument, and all of the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. §3142(g), the Court finds that the government has proven by a preponderance of the evidence that Defendant is a serious flight risk and no combination of conditions exist that would reasonably assure his appearance at future court proceedings.

         a. Standard of Review.

         The Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 3141-3150, mandates the release of a person pending trial unless the court “[f]inds that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of any other person and the community.” United States v. Hir, 517 F.3d 1081, 1086 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)). This Court engages in a two-step inquiry before ordering a defendant either be released or detained pending trial. First, the Court must determine whether a defendant presents a “serious risk that [the defendant] will flee, ” if released from custody. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(2)(A)). Second, if a defendant is likely to flee, the Court must determine whether some set of conditions would sufficiently vitiate that risk. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g). The government bears the burden of showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant poses a flight risk. United States v. Gebro, 948 F.2d 1118, 1121 (9th Cir. 1991).

         In determining whether release conditions exist that would reasonably assure a defendant's appearance, Section 3142(g) requires a district court to consider the following factors:

(1) the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, including whether the offense is a crime of violence, a violation of section 1591, a Federal crime of terrorism, or involves a minor victim or a controlled substance, firearm, explosive, or destructive device;
(2) the weight of the evidence against the person;
(3) the history and characteristics of the person, ...

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