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United States v. Taylor

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London

January 24, 2018



          Hanly A. Ingram United States Magistrate Judge.

         The Court, on referral (D.E. 98 at 2), considers reported violations of supervised release conditions by Defendant Dennie Wayne Taylor. District Judge Van Tatenhove entered a Judgment against Defendant on March 2, 2011, for aiding and abetting the possession of items used to manufacture methamphetamine. D.E. 66. Defendant was sentenced to 110 months of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release. Id. at 2-3. On November 1, 2015, his term of imprisonment was reduced to ninety-nine months pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). D.E. 71. Defendant began his term of supervised release on July 28, 2017.

         On December 21, 2017, the United States Probation Office issued a Supervised Release Violation Report (“the Report”), and secured an arrest warrant on the same day. D.E. 98. Defendant was arrested on December 22, 2017. D.E. 103. The Report charges, as Violations #1, #2, and #3, that Defendant violated his Supervised Release conditions by committing three separate state crimes. First, Defendant was arrested on December 15, 2017, for Assault Fourth Degree- Minor Injury, which is a violation of K.R.S. § 508.030 and a Class A Misdemeanor. The Clay District Court complaint alleges that Defendant struck the side of Bradley Barrett's head several times on November 29, 2017. Second, on December 20, 2017, Defendant was served with a criminal complaint summons charging him with Criminal Mischief Second Degree, which is a violation of K.R.S. § 512.030 and a Class A Misdemeanor. The Clay District Court complaint alleges that Defendant caused damage to several windows of a vehicle belonging to Michelle Asher on December 15, 2017. Third, Defendant was arrested on December 20, 2017, for violating an Emergency Protective Order, which is a violation of K.R.S. § 403.763 and a Class A Misdemeanor. The Clay District Court complaint alleges that Defendant violated the terms of an Emergency Protective Order by contacting Michelle Asher on December 18, 2017. All of these are Grade C Violations.


         Defendant's initial appearance pursuant to Rule 32.1 was held on December 28, 2017. D.E. 102. At the initial appearance, counsel for the government made an oral motion for interim detention. Id. The Court found that detention was appropriate as Defendant did not carry the heavy release burden imposed upon him under Rule 32.1(a)(6) and 18 U.S.C. § 3143(a). Id.

         The Court conducted a final hearing on January 10, 2018, and afforded all parties the rights due under Rule 32.1(b)(2). The lone witness that testified concerning the substantive allegations against Defendant was Michelle Asher. She testified that she met Defendant in March 2017 at Dismas Charities, a halfway house program contracted through the Bureau of Prisons, where she was the social services coordinator and he was a client serving a term of home incarceration. Although Defendant maintained employment and tested negative for any drug use, he was reprimanded, lied about his location, and showed an attitude when he was required to answer phone calls to verify his location.

         Defendant and Asher began a romantic relationship in August 2017, after Defendant's home incarceration ended and he was no longer a client of Dismas Charities. They began cohabitating in September 2017, but they began to argue when Asher expressed a desire to move out of Defendant's house. Asher became pregnant with Defendant's child.

         Asher testified that Dismas Charities' employment policy prohibited employees from maintaining romantic relationships with former clients, and that such a relationship would result in termination. Therefore, she and Defendant intentionally kept their relationship secret. When they argued, Asher testified that Defendant threatened to expose their relationship. Ultimately, he confronted her on November 23 (which was Thanksgiving) at East 80 Grocery in London, took her phone, and revealed their relationship to Asher's employer, friends, and family by texting pictures of himself and Asher. She subsequently quit her job two days later, on November 25. She testified that she did not want to disclose their relationship at that time or suddenly quit her job, but was forced to because of Defendant's actions.

         On cross examination, Asher testified that Defendant drove her to the grocery parking lot on November 23, whereas in the Petition/Motion for Order of Protection she indicated that Defendant had followed her there. She clarified on cross examination that Defendant drove her to the grocery store where her car was located, but that he had followed her earlier in the day.

         Asher testified that she met with Defendant on November 29, 2017, to discuss a recent meeting with his probation officer. Then, she drove to meet Bradley Barrett, a longtime friend with whom she used to live and continues to share bills, in order to pay a bill. Defendant followed Asher to this meeting with Barrett, blocked both of their vehicles, exited his vehicle, and began to punch Barrett in the side of the head and ribs. Barrett remained in the car. Asher testified that she witnessed Defendant punch Barrett multiple times, which resulted in a black eye, a laceration above his eye, and pain in his ribs. Barrett managed to drive his vehicle away. On cross examination, Asher denied threatening Defendant with an attack by Barrett; she stated that Barrett was unable to fight Defendant because of a disability. Defendant was eventually arrested on December 15, 2017, for assault in the fourth degree.

         Asher testified that she and Defendant continued to exchange text messages and meet after the events of November 29. He accompanied her to the gynecologist on December 13 to check on the progress of the pregnancy. They discussed the status of their relationship, and Asher testified that she wanted to slow the progress of their relationship while Defendant wanted to increase it. However, Defendant also continued to threaten her. He told Asher that he would kill her if he knew that he would only receive five years in prison. Asher testified that, on a later date, she and Barrett were driving on East Highway 80 when Defendant attempted to force her and Barrett to pull over by driving on the wrong side of the road, stopping, reversing, and charging his vehicle towards her, which eventually forced Asher to drive into a ditch to get away from him. After calling 9-1-1, a police officer advised Asher to obtain an Emergency Protective Order.

         Asher filed a Petition/Motion for Order of Protection with the Clay District Court on December 14, 2017. On the same day, Defendant sent Asher a series of threatening text messages. Defendant was served with the Protective Order Summons on December 15, 2017, which notified him of a court date scheduled in the matter and explained that he was required to stay 500 feet away from Asher and to refrain from contacting her. He subsequently sent Asher a private message on Facebook Messenger with the letter “y” on December 15, after he was served with the Protective Order. Asher took a picture of the message, and that picture was tendered as United States' exhibit number one. She confirmed that she took the tendered picture, the message came from Defendant's account, and she had communicated via Facebook messenger with the same account before. Defendant was arrested on December 20, 2017, for violating the Protective Order. Asher maintained that she did not know applying for the protective order would cause Defendant to violate his supervised release in this Court.

         Asher testified that, on December 15, 2017, Defendant turned his vehicle around after passing her on Highway 80. Despite having no plans to meet and not returning Defendant's text messages, Asher pulled her vehicle over and Defendant followed her. Initially, Asher testified that both vehicles pulled into the firehouse parking lot, but later confirmed on cross examination that they pulled into the courthouse parking lot and explained that the parking lots were adjacent to one another. Defendant then began to hit Asher's car with a large rock. Asher testified that “he just started hammering away with a big rock about the size of my head at the windows” of her vehicle. The United States tendered photos of the damage and a receipt itemizing the cost of repairs as an exhibit. Asher confirmed that the pictures depicted the true and accurate state of the vehicle and that the receipt depicted the cost of repairs. According to the receipt, the repairs totaled $692.57. Defendant was served with a criminal complaint summons on December 20, 2017, for criminal mischief second degree.

         Asher denied threatening or bullying Defendant. Defense counsel tendered a picture of an undated text message in which Asher threatened him. She confirmed that the text message came from her, but stated that she was trying to “keep up with him.” Defense counsel tendered a second text message in which Defendant requested that Asher leave him alone, and she replied that he would not be able to do anything if she refused to leave him alone. Asher admitted to ripping the rearview mirror off of Defendant's vehicle during September or October, but denied damaging the windows of his vehicle in ...

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