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United States v. Robertson

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

June 11, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
MARK DATANGEN ROBERTSON, 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, Stephen A. Swift.

I. RELEVANT FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

On June 4, 2014, Defendant Mark Datangen Robertson was charged by Indictment (docket number 6) with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance (Count 1) and distribution of a controlled substance (Count 2). 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 elected not to offer any evidence at the time of hearing, relying instead on the information set forth in the pretrial services report. Defendant is 31 years old. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and lived there until age 18, when he moved to Cedar Rapids. Prior to his arrest, Defendant was residing with his girlfriend, Rodesa Herman, but he told the pretrial services officer that he did not know her address and he could not provide a phone number to contact her. The pretrial services officer was able to contact Ms. Herman, however, and confirmed that Defendant is welcome to return to her home if released.

Defendant's father lives in Minnesota and his mother lives in Cedar Rapids. Defendant has two siblings, one of whom resides in Cedar Rapids. Defendant has never been married, but has five children (ages 12, 8, 6, 3, and 3) with five women.

Defendant told the pretrial services officer that he has been employed with a friend named "Charles, " cleaning houses and semi-trucks, but he could not recall Charles' last name or the name of the business. Defendant worked for two months in early 2014 at Whirlpool Amana, but apparently lost his job when he was required to serve a 60-day state jail term. The Defendant has no physical health issues and no history of mental health issues. Defendant admitted that he smoked marijuana on weekends from age 17 to age 29, and last used marijuana about two months ago.

Defendant has a substantial prior criminal record, dating back to age 19, when he was convicted of domestic abuse assault. Also at age 19, Defendant was convicted of possession of a controlled substance. By the Court's calculation, Defendant has been convicted of assault on six occasions, with five other assault charges dismissed. On April 23, 2004, Defendant was found in contempt for failing to complete the batterers' education program, and sentenced to 30 days in jail. On June 8, 2014, Defendant was charged again with assault.

In September 2003, Defendant was charged with a felony drug offense. He received a suspended five-year prison term, but was found in contempt of court a few months later and sentenced to serve 45 days in jail. Defendant's probation was modified in July 2006 to include placement at a halfway house. In September 2006, Defendant was found in contempt of court and sentenced to serve six months in jail. While at the halfway house, Defendant was convicted of voluntary absence (escape).

In the last four years, Defendant has been convicted of driving while barred seven times, and convicted of driving while suspended twice. During that time, Defendant failed to appear for court proceedings on four occasions and warrants were issued for his arrest. In July 2013, Defendant was convicted of possession of marijuana, third offense, and sentenced to 60 days in jail.

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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