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United States v. Thomas

United States District Court, D. Colorado

May 15, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
2. TRAMMEL THOMAS, Defendant.

          ORDER SETTING REVOCATION HEARING

          Nina Y. Wang United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter comes before the court on the Government's Motion for Arrest Warrant and Revocation of Defendant's Order of Release Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3148 (the “Motion”) [#333, filed March 5, 2018], which was referred to this court pursuant to D.C.COLO.LCrR 57.1 and the memorandum dated March 5, 2018 [#334]. On April 4, 2018, the United States Marshal Service arrested Defendant Trammel Thomas (“Defendant” or “Mr. Thomas”) in the District of Arizona, see [#369], and the Honorable Eileen S. Willett entered an Order of Detention following a detention hearing before the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. See [#405-1]. Upon Defendant's return to this District, an issue arose as to whether he was entitled to a Revocation Hearing in this court, or whether the Order of Detention entered by Magistrate Judge Willett constituted an order to revoke bond pending Defendant's sentencing. For the reasons set forth below, this court concludes that Defendant is entitled to a Revocation Hearing.

         BACKGROUND

         On February 8, 2016, a grand jury for the District of Colorado returned an indictment against Mr. Thomas on one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the Government with Respect to Claims in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286, twelve counts of Wire Fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, thirteen counts of Mail Fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341, and a forfeiture allegation. [#1]. He was arrested in the District of Arizona, and on March 8, 2016, Magistrate Judge Willett ordered him released and set Conditions of Release. [#11 at 6-7]. The grand jury returned a Superseding Indictment against Mr. Thomas on April 11, 2017, charging him with one count of Conspiracy to Defraud the Government with Respect to Claims in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286 and seven counts of Aiding and Abetting Mail Fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 2. [#131]. There additionally remained an allegation of forfeiture. [Id.]. Ultimately, Defendant went to trial on counts 1, 2-7 of the Superseding Indictment, and on November 30, 2017, a jury in this District convicted Mr. Thomas of all counts. [#233].

         The presiding judge, the Honorable William J. Martinez, then addressed the application of the Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3143(a)(1), with regard to immediate remand. Judge Martinez found clear and convincing evidence that Defendant's Conditions of Release reasonably assured that he would not flee or pose a danger to the safety of the community and that the conditions set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3143(a)(1) were met, and thus released Defendant subject to the Conditions of Release as set forth in Magistrate Judge Willett's Order Setting Conditions of Release. See [#223; #11 at 6-7]. The court set Mr. Thomas's Sentencing Hearing for April 12, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. [Id.].

         On March 5, 2018, the Government filed the pending Motion pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3148. [#333]. The Government asserts that Defendant violated the Conditions of Release by misrepresenting his employment and his residence, and by testing positive for an opiate. [Id.]. Judge Martinez referred the Motion to the undersigned Magistrate Judge, see [#334], who issued the arrest warrant and reserved the issue of whether Defendant's bond would be revoked. See [#339]. Subsequently, for reasons unrelated to the Motion, Judge Martinez sua sponte reset Defendant's Sentencing Hearing to August 9, 2018. [#359].

         The United States Marshals arrested Mr. Thomas on April 4, 2018 in the District of Arizona. [#4]. Mr. Thomas waived his identity hearing and production of the warrant, [#370-1], but proceeded to a detention hearing, [#370-6 at 2], and was committed to this District for further proceedings. [#370]. This court held Defendant's initial appearance on April 30, 2018, and addressed at that time whether Mr. Thomas was entitled to another detention hearing or a formal revocation hearing in this District, given Magistrate Judge Willett's Order of Detention. See [#399]. The court requested briefing on the issue from both the Government and Defendant, who each filed briefs on May 3, 2018. [#402; #403]. During a Status Conference held May 9, 2018, the undersigned advised the Parties of her conclusion that a Revocation Hearing is necessary and set a Revocation Hearing for May 30, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. [#406].

         ANALYSIS

         As discussed above, the Government filed the instant Motion pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3148. [#333]. That section, entitled “Sanctions for violation of a release condition, ” provides in pertinent part:

(a) Available Sanctions.
A person who has been released under section 3142 of this title, and who has violated a condition of his release, is subject to a revocation of release, an order of detention, and a prosecution for contempt of court.
(b) Revocation of Release.
The attorney for the Government may initiate a proceeding for revocation of an order of release by filing a motion with the district court. A judicial officer may issue a warrant for the arrest of a person charged with violating a condition of release, and the person shall be brought before a judicial officer in the district in which such person's arrest was ordered for a proceeding in accordance with this section. To the extent practicable, a person charged with violating the condition of release that such person not commit a Federal, State, or local crime during the period of release, shall be brought before the judicial officer who ordered the release and whose order is alleged to have been violated.

18 U.S.C. § 3148(a)-(b). In briefing the issue, the Government relies on United States v. Cisneros, 328 F.3d 610 (10th Cir. 2003), to argue that, given Magistrate Judge Willett's Order of Detention, any further proceedings regarding Mr. Thomas's detention pending sentencing are governed by 18 U.S.C. § 3145, which “requires that Thomas file a motion seeking revocation or amendment [of Magistrate Judge Willett's Order of Detention] and it requires that the motion be ruled upon by the district judge having original jurisdiction over the matter.” [#403 at 2]. The Government further contends that the court is not required to give Defendant another hearing, and that Judge ...


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