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United States v. Wolf

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

July 29, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
STEVEN WOLF, Defendant.

ORDER RE: APPEAL OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S ORDER GRANTING PRE-TRIAL RELEASE Re: Dkt. Nos. 17, 20, 21

EDWARD J. DAVILA, District Judge.

In an Indictment filed on May 14, 2015, Defendant Steven Wolf ("Defendant") was charged with two separate counts of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(B)(viii). After Defendant's arrest, detention proceedings were commenced before Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins, who ordered Defendant released on bond.

The Government appealed from the release order, and this court heard the matter over two days. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court found by clear and convincing evidence that Defendant would pose a danger to individuals and the community if released. Accordingly, the order entered by Judge Cousins releasing Defendant on bond was revoked and Defendant was ordered detained. The court now states the findings and reasons that support the order of detention.

I. BACKGROUND

Defendant allegedly committed the acts underlying the federal indictment in December, 2014, and January, 2015. He was originally arrested and charged with state equivalent offenses, but posted bail and was released from state custody.

The Government initiated this prosecution in May, 2015, during the pendency of the state prosecution. A no-bail arrest warrant was issued on May 14, 2015, and Defendant was arrested on the federal charges in early June, 2015. He was arraigned on June 3, 2015, and was remanded to custody.

A detention hearing then commenced before Judge Cousins on June 8, 2015, and was held over four days. On June 23, 2015, Judge Cousins ordered Defendant released on a $100, 000 personal recognizance bond with Defendant's brother, Derrick Wolf, and his friend, Julia Barton, serving as sureties. Judge Cousins stayed the release order until 5:00 p.m. to permit the Government to appeal and seek a stay from the district court. This court issued the stay of release requested by the Government.

The Government's appeal of the release order eventually came on for hearing on July 16, 2015, with all counsel and Defendant present. After hearing the parties' arguments, the court found the Government had met its burden to establish that no condition or combination of conditions would reasonably assure the appearance of Defendant and ensure the safety of any other person and the community. On that basis, the release order entered by Judge Cousins was revoked and Defendant was ordered detained.

Defendant subsequently requested an opportunity to present additional evidence on the detention issue. Thus, at a hearing held on July 21, 2015, the court again heard from Defendant and from the Government. At the conclusion, the court found based on the additional sureties and terms of supervision proposed that Defendant had rebutted the adverse finding on risk of flight. The court did not, however, disturb the second part of the ruling entered on July 16th, which found established by clear and convincing evidence that Defendant posed a risk of danger to individuals and to the community if released. The detention order was therefore maintained.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Jurisdiction to review a release order issued by a magistrate judge lies with the district court pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3145(a)(1). That section states, in pertinent part:

(a) Review of a release order. If a person is ordered released by a magistrate...
(1) the attorney for the Government may file, with the court having original jurisdiction over the offense, a motion for revocation of the order or ...

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