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United States v. Sadiqullah

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

August 21, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
FNU JOHN SADIQULLAH, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          KAREN K. CALDWELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the defendant Fnu Sadiqullah's motion (DE 55) to revoke the magistrate judge's detention order.

         Sadiqullah is charged with one count of conspiring to kidnap certain individuals for ransom in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1201(c) and one count of conspiring to use interstate facilities in the commission of a murder for hire in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1958.

         The government moved that he be detained pending trial. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)(1), a defendant must be detained pending trial if, after a hearing, a judicial officer finds that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure his appearance at future court proceedings and the public safety.

         The magistrate judge conducted a detention hearing and determined that the government has presented clear and convincing evidence that Sadiqullah poses a danger to others. Accordingly, the magistrate judge ordered that he be detained pending trial. Sadiqullah then filed this motion, asking the Court to revoke the magistrate judge's detention order.

         The Court will conduct a de novo review of the magistrate judge's detention order. The statute providing for review of the magistrate judge's detention order does not specifically require that the Court conduct an additional hearing. 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b). In his motion, Sadiqullah does not request a hearing, and he does not rely on or explain evidence not already in the record that he would proffer at a hearing in support of the motion to revoke the detention order. Accordingly, a second detention hearing is not necessary. See United States v. Gaviria, 828 F.2d 667, 670 (11th Cir.1987); United States v. Jones, No. 12:CR-105, 2012 WL 6737784, at * 1, n.1 (D. Conn. 2012); United States v. Burks, 141 F.Supp.2d 1283, 1285 (D. Kan. 2001);United States v. Alonso, 832 F.Supp. 503, 504 (D. Puerto Rico 1993); United States v. Bergner, 800 F.Supp. 659, 661 (N.D.Ind.1992).

         In resolving this motion, the Court will rely on the affidavits filed in support of the criminal complaints in this matter, the indictment, the Pretrial Services Report prepared by the U.S. Probation Office, the transcript of the detention hearing, and the pleadings submitted by the parties.

         Detention is appropriate if the government proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is a flight risk or if it proves by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant poses a danger to the public or any person. United States v. Hinton, 113 Fed.Appx. 76, 77 (6th Cir. 2004).

         In making this determination, the court is to consider “the available information” on the following factors: the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, including whether the offense is a crime of violence; the weight of the evidence against the person; the history and characteristics of the person; and the nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or the community posed by the person's release. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g).

         As to the nature and circumstances of the offenses at issue here, conspiracy to commit murder for hire and to kidnap are both serious charges. The murder-for-hire charge carries a possible prison term of 10 years; the kidnapping charge carries a maximum life sentence. Further, both are “crimes of violence.” The Bail Reform Act defines a crime of violence as “an offense that has as an element of the offense the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, ” or “any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.” 18 U.S.C. § 3156(a)(4)(A), (B). Thus, this factor weights in favor of detention.

         As to the weight of the evidence against Sadiqullah, the Court must weigh the evidence regarding the danger Sadiqullah poses to the public or any person, not the evidence of his guilt. United States v. Stone, 608 F.3d 939, 948 (6th Cir. 2010). In weighing the evidence on this issue, the Court will consider Sadiqullah's personal history and characteristics and the nature and seriousness of any danger to any person or the community posed by his release.

         Evidence regarding any danger posed by Sadiqullah is derived largely from the affidavit submitted by Detective William J. Jackson, which was filed in support of the criminal complaint against Sadiqullah, and by the testimony of Detective Jackson at the detention hearing. In his affidavit, Jackson identifies himself as a deputy U.S. Marshal with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and as a detective with the University of Kentucky Police Department. At the detention hearing, Detective Jackson explained that he has been assigned to an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. (DE 20, Tr. at 12-13.)

         In his affidavit and in his testimony at the detention hearing, Detective Jackson recounted the contents of three recorded conversations between co-defendant Mahmoud Shalash and a confidential source. Sadiqullah was also present for one of those conversations.

         The first recording was of a meeting that occurred on March 12, 2019 at the Days Motel in Lexington between Shalash and the source. Detective Jackson testified that Shalash owns the Days Motel and that Shalash ...


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