United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Eastern Division
ORDER FOR PRETRIAL DETENTION
JON STUART SCOLES, Chief Magistrate Judge.
On the 10th day of November, 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 Justin Lightfoot. The Defendant appeared personally and was represented by his attorney, Max S. Wolson.
I. RELEVANT FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
On October 30, 2014, Defendant Demarcus Darnell Sanders was charged by Indictment (docket number 2) with possession of a firearm and ammunition by a prohibited person. At the arraignment on November 6, 2014, Defendant entered a plea of not guilty and trial was scheduled before Chief Judge Linda R. Reade on January 5, 2015.
Sergeant Steven Bose of the Waterloo Police Department testified regarding the circumstances underlying the instant charge. In May or June 2014, authorities conducted a controlled buy of marijuana from Defendant, using a confidential informant. Subsequent to that time, law enforcement executed three or four "trash rips" at Defendant's residence, resulting in the discovery of evidence consistent with the delivery of marijuana.
On September 10, 2014, authorities executed a search warrant at Defendant's residence. Sergeant Bose followed Defendant to the residence and approached Defendant in his car. Bose testified he could smell raw and burnt marijuana as he approached the vehicle, and he found a marijuana "blunt roach" in the car. A search of the residence revealed a loaded.9mm Smith & Wesson firearm under the dresser in Defendant's bedroom. Defendant claimed that it belonged to another person, but admitted handling it when it was brought to the house. Authorities also found.9mm ammunition, a gun case, and a holster in a shed on the property.
In 2006, Defendant was convicted of intimidation with a dangerous weapon, willful injury, and going armed with intent. As a convicted felon, it was unlawful for him to possess a firearm or ammunition. Moreover, Defendant admitted to law enforcement that he had been smoking marijuana twice a day for several years. Defendant submitted to a urinalysis, which tested positive for marijuana and cocaine.
Defendant also admitted an affiliation with the "chopper city" gang in Waterloo, although he told officers that he was trying to "distance himself." Defendant acknowledged that there had been an increase in gun violence between two competing gangs, and told law enforcement that the gun found at his residence belonged to a gang member. Defendant initially denied selling drugs, but when confronted with the controlled buy, Defendant admitted selling drugs "to support his habit."
Defendant is 27 years old and is a lifelong residence of Waterloo. Prior to his arrest, Defendant was living with his girlfriend and their 11-month-old child. Also living at the residence was Defendant's 10-year-old son from a prior relationship. Defendant told the pretrial services officer that he has been employed for about 18 months doing maintenance at Tyson Fresh Meats in Waterloo, and works "off-and-on" for his family's funeral business.
Defendant is in good physical health and denied any history of mental health issues. Defendant told the pretrial services officer that he had used marijuana "recreationally" for about the past two years. Defendant admitted first using cocaine about one year ago, but stated he had used it on two occasions.
As previously noted, Defendant was convicted in 2006 of three serious felonies. According to the narrative in the pretrial services report, records reflect that Defendant and another individual in the same vehicle pointed guns at the victim and fired multiple shots. The victim was struck in the upper left leg by the gunfire. Defendant was sentenced to 10 years in prison but was paroled on July 2, 2008. While on parole, Defendant was charged and later convicted of possession of marijuana. Defendant was discharged from parole on July 21, 2010.
Since being discharged from parole, Defendant has two convictions for driving without a license in 2010, an assault in February 2012, and "failure to disperse" in July 2012. Defendant has a pending state charge of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver arising from the events of September 10, 2014.
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 ...