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United States v. Shine

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

April 27, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
KENDALL DEWIGHT SHINE

          OPINION AND ORDER

          MYRON H. THOMPSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Defendant Kendall Dewight Shine was indicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Following his arrest, a United States Magistrate Judge held a hearing and ordered him to be detained pending trial. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b), Shine has filed a motion asking that this court review the magistrate judge's detention order de novo.

         After an independent and de novo review of the transcript of the testimony presented to the magistrate judge, as well as additional evidence that was not before the magistrate judge (including that presented by the parties in briefings and in subsequent testimony before this court), the court will allow Shine's release, albeit with the stringent requirements that he be generally confined to his home, subject to location monitoring, drug treatment, and drug testing.

         I. Legal Standard

         When the government seeks to detain a defendant pending trial, the court must determine whether any “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.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)(1). The burden is on the government to prove with clear and convincing evidence the presence of a flight risk or dangerousness to any other person or the community. United States v. King, 849 F.2d 845, 488-491 (11th Cir. 1988) (setting forth procedures for district courts to follow on motions to revoke or amend detention orders entered by magistrate judges). In determining whether pretrial detention is appropriate, district courts have “substantial latitude.” Id., 849 F.2d at 487.

         The court must consider four factors in making its § 3142(e)(1) determination: (1) the nature and circumstances of the offense charge; (2) the weight of the evidence against the person; (3) the history and characteristics of the person, including “the person's character, physical and mental condition, family ties, employment, financial resources, length of residence in the community, community ties, past conduct, history relating to drug or alcohol abuse, criminal history, and record concerning appearance at court proceedings”; and (4) the nature and seriousness of the danger that would be posed by the person's release. § 3142(g). However, consideration of such factors does not “modif[y] or limit[] the presumption of innocence.” § 3142(j).

         The government and Shine agree that this court's review of the magistrate judge's detention decision is de novo. United States v. Hurtado, 779 F.2d 1467, 1481 (11th Cir. 1985) (stating that the district court “is not constrained to look for abuse of discretion or to defer to the judgment of the prior judicial officer” when reviewing detention decisions). The reviewing court may also consider new evidence, as it did here. King, 849 F.2d at 491.

         II. Discussion

         The government and Shine agree that Shine does not pose a flight risk. Instead, the government argues that Shine is a danger to the community. Therefore, the court is tasked with determining whether the government has proved with clear and convincing evidence that no combination of release conditions would reasonably assure the safety of any person or the community.[1]

         The nature and circumstances of Shine's alleged offense:

         According to the testimony of Montgomery Police Officer Jeffrey Ioimo, Shine was arrested on November 30, 2016, when two police officers smelled marijuana while conducting a traffic stop. During a subsequent search of the truck, the officers found a loaded gun under his seat, as well as a digital scale and a razor blade with white residue. During Agent Ioimo's interview with Shine following his arrest, Shine admitted to using marijuana and cocaine earlier that day; he also stated that he had the gun because his girlfriend's son was involved in a gang conflict in Montgomery and because of the type of people who come into his hair-cutting business. There was no other evidence that elaborated on the nature of the gang conflict.

         While Shine's reasons for having the gun--wanting protection due to his girlfriend's son's conflict and for his business--raise some concern that he may be exposed to violence, there is no evidence that Shine is involved in gang-related activities or significant and widespread drug-related activity, and there is no evidence that his gun was present during his drug use.

         The weight of the evidence:

         The weight of the evidence against the person should be considered only to the extent that it is relevant to the likelihood that the defendant will fail to appear or pose a danger to the community. See 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g). While the weight of the evidence against Shine is substantial, that does not mean that no combination of conditions can reasonably assure community safety. See United States v. Motamedi, 767 F.2d 1403, 1408 (9th Cir. 1985) (allowing the weight of the evidence ...


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