United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C Reeves, Chief Judge United States District Court.
Dayquan Dejon Johnson has filed a motion to revoke the
detention order issued by United States Magistrate Judge
Edward B. Atkins. [Record No. 58] Because Johnson has not
overcome the presumption of detention and the factors
outlined in 18 U.S.C. § 3142 all weigh in favor of
detaining Johnson pretrial, his motion will be denied.
is charged with conspiracy to distribute 40 grams or more of
fentanyl, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, and aiding
and abetting possession with intent to distribute fentanyl,
in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C.
§ 2. At his initial appearance, the United States moved
to detain Johnson pending trial because his charges trigger a
presumption that no conditions of release would reasonably
assure the safety of others.
Judge Atkins held a detention hearing on November 26, 2019.
Johnson proffered that he could live with his grandmother in
Michigan pending trial, as she was always in the home and she
would be able to drive him to all court appearances.
Johnson's grandmother did not appear at the hearing. The
United States contended that the presumption of detention had
not been overcome, but Magistrate Judge Atkins apparently
disagreed. Accordingly, the United States called Special
Agent Michael Trueblood to testify.
Agent Trueblood offered testimony regarding an investigation
into Johnson traveling to Winchester, Kentucky to distribute
controlled substances. According to Trueblood, Johnson
traveled to Winchester on at least two occasions to
distribute heroin and/or fentanyl. Trueblood stated that
Johnson was arrested on one of the trips while possessing 26
grams of fentanyl. He also explained that Johnson had an
affiliation with a Detroit gang, but that he did not have any
specific information about violence committed by
Johnson or any use of firearms by Johnson in
this case. He offered pictures of Johnson holding a
substantial amount of money and a picture of him with a gang
affiliation tattoo. Trueblood testified that Johnson
confirmed he was distributing drugs and explained that he had
a contact in Winchester, Kentucky.
Judge Atkins issued a detention order concluding that the
defendant successfully rebutted the presumption of detention
by producing some evidence that he would abide by conditions
of release, but still found that no conditions could be
imposed that would assure Johnson's appearance at future
court proceedings or the safety of others. The magistrate
judge explained that the nature and circumstances of the
offense weighed in favor of detention and the weight of the
evidence of dangerousness was significant. He further
explained that, while Johnson's criminal history was not
entirely clear, the defendant had charges involving robbery
and a weapons offense. Additionally, he noted that
Johnson's employment history could not be verified.
Finally, Magistrate Judge Atkins concluded that Johnson
presented a danger to others and the community if he were to
filed a motion for revocation of the detention order,
asserting that the government failed to establish by clear
and convincing evidence that he is a danger to others.
Counsel also contended that the Court ignored whether Johnson
would reasonably appear when required. [Record No. 58] And he
disputes that Special Agent Trueblood established that
Johnson was a flight risk or a danger to the community. The
defendant notes that the gang references were vague and that
there are conditions to mitigate any danger presented by the
United States filed a response opposing the revocation of the
detention order. [Record No. 63] It asserts that the
government met its burden to establish that there are no
conditions of release that would reasonably assure
Johnson's appearance at trial or assure the safety of
others and the community.
matter came for a hearing on December 20, 2019. Counsel for
the defendant again indicated that Johnson's grandmother
would be able to supervise him and requested release with any
conditions the Court would be willing to impose, including
home detention or GPS monitoring. Counsel further argued that
Magistrate Judge Atkins' decision to detain the defendant
was improperly driven by Johnson's alleged associations
with gang members. However, counsel did not believe that
Trueblood's testimony at the original detention hearing
supported the gang affiliation claim.
United States argued that there are no conditions of release
that would minimize the danger presented by the defendant or
mitigate his risk of flight. First, the United States points
out that it cannot test the credibility of the
defendant's grandmother in determining whether she would
be a suitable third-party custodian. Additionally, the United
States presented the pretrial release order from the pending
case in Detroit, which explicitly stated that Johnson was not
to leave Michigan or commit any crimes while released.
Finally, the United States offered photographs of the
defendant with a substantial sums of cash, which underscores
the defendant's ability to flee if he is released.
defendant may file a motion for revocation of a detention
order with the court having original jurisdiction over the
offense. 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b). This Court reviews a
magistrate judge's detention order de novo.
United States v. Yamini, 91 F.Supp.2d 1125, 1128-29
(S.D. Ohio 2000); United States v. Clark, 865 F.2d
1433, 1436 (4th Cir. 1989). The Court “should review
the evidence before the magistrate and make its own
independent determination whether the magistrate's
findings are correct, with no deference.” United
States v. Koenig, 912 F.2d 1190, 1193 (9th Cir. 1990).