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United States v. Simpson

United States District Court, Northern District of Iowa, Central Division

January 21, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
LESLIE SIMPSON, Defendant. No. 15-mj-07

ORDER

LEONARD T. STRAND UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

I. INTRODUCTION

These two related cases came before me on January 20, 2015, for initial appearance, preliminary examination and detention hearing in Case Number CR15-3003-MWB (the Revocation Case), and for preliminary examination and detention hearing in Case Number 15-mj-07 (the New Case). Assistant United States Attorney Forde Fairchild appeared on behalf of the plaintiff (the Government). Defendant Leslie Simpson (Simpson) appeared in person and with his attorney, Assistant Federal Defender Bradley Hansen. The Government offered the testimony of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent Matthew Jenkins. Simpson proffered information through his attorney. Government’s Exhibits 1 and 2 and Defendant’s Exhibit A were received into evidence, without objection.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On April 11, 2013, after pleading guilty to one count of felon in possession of a firearm in the Western District of Missouri, Simpson was sentenced to a five year term of probation. Doc. No. 1-2 in the Revocation Case at 12-13. His conditions of probation include a prohibition on the possession of firearms, destructive devices or other dangerous weapons. Id. at 13. On January 15, 2015, the Government filed a complaint (Doc. No. 2 in the New Case) against Simpson in this court that sets forth a new charge of felon in possession of a firearm. On January 16, 2015, this court accepted a transfer of jurisdiction from the Western District of Missouri concerning Simpson’s probation. See Doc. No. 1 in the Revocation Case. On January 20, 2015, the Government filed a petition (Doc. No. 2 in the Revocation Case) to revoke supervision, which is based on the same alleged conduct described in the complaint in the New Case.

III. PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION

With regard to the preliminary examination, the complaint charges Simpson with felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), while the revocation petition contends that the same alleged conduct constitutes a violation of the terms of Simpson’s probation. Having considered the evidence presented, I find that the Government has established probable cause to believe, with regard to the New Case, that an offense has been committed and that the defendant committed it. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 5.1(e). Likewise, with regard to the Revocation Case I find that the Government has established probable cause to believe that Simpson has violated the terms of his probation. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 32.1(b)(1)(A).

IV. DETENTION

The Government seeks pretrial detention in the New Case and detention pending a revocation hearing in the Revocation Case. While these detention requests require analysis of similar issues and standards, the respective burdens of proof are distinct. As such, I will analyze each case separately.

A. The New Case

1. Applicable Standards

A request to detain a defendant pending trial triggers a two-step inquiry. United States v. Friedman, 837 F.2d 48, 49 (2d Cir. 1988). First, I must determine whether the Government is entitled to seek pre-trial detention. See 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(2). The Government must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the case involves either (1) an offense listed in 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(1) or (2) the defendant presents certain risk factors, as identified in § 3142(f)(2). Id; see also United States v. Fonville, No. 14-MJ-241, 2014 WL 5410319 (N.D. Iowa October 22, 2014).

Second, I must determine whether any condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure Simpson’s appearance as required, as well as the safety of any other person and the community. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e). A defendant may be detained on the basis of a showing of either dangerousness or risk of flight; it is not necessary to show both. United States v. Apker, 964 F.2d 742, 743 (8th Cir. 1992) (per curiam); United States v. Sazenski, 806 F.2d 846, 848 (8th Cir. 1986) (per curiam). In making this determination, I must apply the factors outlined in 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g), including (1) the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, including whether the offense is a crime of violence or involves a firearm; (2) the weight of the evidence against the defendant; (3) the defendant’s history and characteristics; and (4) the nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or to the community that would be posed by the defendant’s release. I must ...


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