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United States v. Williams

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division

June 11, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIE CORNELIUS WILLIAMS, Defendant.

ORDER FOR PRETRIAL DETENTION

JON STUART SCOLES, Magistrate Judge.

On the 10th day of June, 2014, this matter came on for hearing on the Government's request to have the Defendant detained prior to trial. The Government was represented by Assistant United States Attorney Dan Chatham. The Defendant appeared personally and was represented by his attorney, F. David Eastman.

I. RELEVANT FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

On June 4, 2014, Defendant Willie Cornelius Williams was charged by Indictment (docket number 6) with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance (Count 1) and three counts of distribution of a controlled substance (Counts 7, 8, and 10). At the arraignment on June 5, 2014, Defendant entered a plea of not guilty and trial was scheduled before Chief Judge Linda R. Reade on August 4, 2014.

The Government did not offer any evidence at the time of trial, electing instead to rely on the information contained in the pretrial services report. Defendant is 37 years old. He was born and raised in Chicago and lived there until age 23, when he moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Defendant lived in Milwaukee for about four years and moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in about 2006. All of Defendant's family members continue to reside in Chicago. Prior to his arrest, Defendant was living with his girlfriend in Cedar Rapids and would return there if released.

Defendant has never been married, but has five children with five women. All of the children live with their respective mothers in Chicago. Defendant worked with a temporary employment agency for about three months during the spring of 2013, but reported no other significant work history. He is financially supported by his girlfriend, who apparently works two jobs. Defendant has no current physical health issues and denied any history of mental health problems. Defendant told the pretrial services officer that he rarely uses marijuana and last used it about six weeks ago.

Defendant has an extensive prior criminal record, starting with two years of probation following conviction of possession of a controlled substance. In 1994, at age 17, Defendant was sentenced to four years in prison for the manufacture or delivery of cocaine analog. He served about five months and was released in August 1995. While on parole, Defendant was charged with criminal trespass to state land (twice) and criminal trespass to a vehicle. Two of the charges resulted in a bond forfeiture, with the third charge stricken from the docket with leave to reinstate. Defendant was discharged from parole in September 1997. In 1998, Defendant was charged with operating a gambling device, disorderly conduct, and drinking alcohol on the public way. The first two charges resulted in bond forfeiture, with the disposition of the third charge unknown.

In 1999, Defendant was charged with the manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance. While the drug charge was pending, Defendant was charged with mob action, possession of cannabis, disorderly conduct, and criminal trespass to land. Three of the charges resulted in bond forfeiture, with the disposition of the fourth case unknown. In March 2000, Defendant was sentenced on the drug charge to three years in prison. He was paroled in March 2001.

While on parole on the drug charge, Defendant was charged and later convicted of endangering the life or health of a child. Defendant was later charged with criminal damage to government property, resulting in a bond forfeiture. Defendant was discharged from parole in March 2003.

Since that time, Defendant has been charged with soliciting unlawful business (three times), possession of cannabis, criminal trespass to land (three times), mob action, drinking alcohol on the public way, driving while suspended (four times), domestic battery, possession of a controlled substance, public intoxication, driving while barred, disorderly conduct, providing false identification information, possession of alcohol in a park, and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Defendant failed to appear for sentencing on the OWI charge and a warrant was issued for his arrest on April 25, 2014. Defendant was apparently arrested on the state charge at the same time that he was arrested on the instant federal charge. Defendant also has an active warrant outstanding for his arrest in Illinois on a domestic battery charge.

II. DISCUSSION

The release or detention of a defendant pending trial is governed by the Bail Reform Act of 1984, 18 U.S.C. § 3142. In United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739 (1987), the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Bail Reform Act of 1984, while noting that "[i]n our society liberty is the norm, and detention prior to trial or without trial is the carefully limited exception." Id. at 755.

A. Legal Standard to be Applied

If the government moves to have a defendant detained prior to trial, the court must undertake a two-step inquiry. United States v. Friedman, 837 F.2d 48, 49 (2d Cir. 1988). The Court must first determine by a preponderance of the evidence that the case involves an offense listed in 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(1), or that the defendant presents certain risk factors, as identified in § 3142(f)(2). Id. Once this determination has been made, the court then determines, pursuant to § 3142(e), whether any ...


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