Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Perras

United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division

November 18, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
SCOTT PERRAS

          ORDER AND MEMORANDUM OPINION ON GOVERNMENT'S MOTION TO REVOKE RELEASE ORDER

          SEAN D. JORDAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is the Government's Motion to Revoke Release Order, requesting that the Court revoke the magistrate court's order releasing Defendant Scott Perras pending trial. (Dkt. #67). Defendant filed a Response to the Government's Motion (Dkt. #95) and the Court held a hearing on the Motion. The Court, having considered the Government's Motion, the Defendant's response, the record, and the applicable law, DENIES the Motion and the relief requested.

         BACKGROUND

         Scott Perras is charged in two counts of an indictment returned by a Grand Jury sitting in the Eastern District of Texas. The first count charges Perras with a violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 2, possession with the intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances resulting in death, and aiding and abetting. The second count against Perras charges violations of the same statutes, but alleges conduct occurring over a broader timeframe, involving more defendants, and does not allege the death of any individual. Perras pled not guilty to both counts of the indictment.

         On November 4, 2019, the magistrate court held a hearing to determine whether Perras should be detained or released pending trial. The Government urged the court to detain Perras, arguing that he would be a danger to the safety of others and the community if released. Perras, through counsel, argued that a combination of conditions could be imposed on his release that would reasonably assure the safety of others and the community, and that therefore he need not be detained pending trial. The Government presented a witness, investigating detective David Roach, and conducted cross-examination of Perras's witnesses. Perras presented two witnesses, his girlfriend Diana Chavez and his father David Perras. Perras's counsel also cross-examined Detective Roach.

         The magistrate court ruled that Perras should be released pending trial under a set of conditions recommended by the United States Probation Office for the Eastern District of Texas.[1]The Government stated that it would not object to the conditions imposed by the magistrate court should Perras be released, but stated that it would appeal to this Court the magistrate court's ruling that Perras should not be detained pending trial. The Government made an oral motion to the magistrate court for a temporary stay of its ruling that Perras should be released, pending the Government's appeal to this Court. The oral motion was granted by the magistrate court, and Perras remains in detention.

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         A court must order a defendant be released or detained pending trial. 18 U.S.C. § 3141(a). The applicable procedure regarding the release or detention of a defendant pending trial is set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3142. United States v. Trosper, 809 F.2d 1107, 1108 (5th Cir. 1987). The statute requires the court to determine whether any “condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of any other person and the community.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e). Under the statute, “[f]or pretrial detention to be imposed on a defendant, the lack of reasonable assurance of either the defendant's appearance, or the safety of others or the community, is sufficient; both are not required.” United States v. Rueben, 974 F.2d 580, 586 (5th Cir. 1992). “Assurance of trial presence must be proven by the preponderance of evidence and assurance of community safety by clear and convincing evidence.” United States v. Jackson, 845 F.2d 1262, 1264 n.3 (5th Cir. 1988).

         To make that determination, the statute requires the court to hold a hearing in some cases. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f). In cases involving an offense subject to a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or more under the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. 801 et seq., upon motion of the Government, the court must hold such a hearing. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(1)(C); Rueben, 974 F.2d at 581 n.2. At the hearing, the rules governing admissibility of evidence do not apply to the presentation and consideration of information. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(2); see Trosper, 809 F.2d at 1111 (“This testimony is, of course, hearsay, but is admissible in a detention hearing.”).

         A rebuttable presumption that “no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of any other person and the community” arises in some cases. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e). The rebuttable presumption arises upon a finding of probable cause to believe that the defendant committed an offense subject to a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years or more under the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. 801 et seq. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)(3)(A); see also Rueben, 974 F.2d at 586 (citing 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)). Probable cause exists when offenses under the Controlled Substances Act are charged in an indictment. See, e.g., Trosper, 809 F.2d 1107 at 1110 (“[T]his court stated that the presumption against pretrial release arises when drug crimes are charged in the indictment. It is therefore clear that the presumption was properly applied to [the defendant] upon proof that he had been indicted under the Controlled Substances Act.”) (internal citations omitted).

         Section 3142(e)'s rebuttable presumption shifts to the defendant “only the burden of producing rebutting evidence, not the burden of persuasion, ” which remains with the Government. United States v. Hare, 873 F.2d 796, 798 (5th Cir. 1989). If the defendant presents “evidence tending to rebut the presumption, ” the presumption “nevertheless remains in the case and is a factor to be considered.” United States v. Fortna, 769 F.2d 243, 251 (5th Cir. 1985). The statute thus creates “an unusual set of weights and measures in which the burden of persuasion is on the government, not the defendant, but the presumption may be weighed in the evidentiary balance.” Hare, 873 F.2d at 799.

         If a person is ordered released by a magistrate court, the Government may file a motion for revocation of the order with the court having original jurisdiction over the offense. 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b). In considering such a revocation motion regarding a magistrate court's pretrial detention order, the district court acts de novo and makes an independent determination of the proper pretrial detention or conditions for release. Fortna, 769 F.2d at 249. The court has discretion to “support what the magistrate has actually ordered with additional findings based on its independent consideration of the record before the magistrate and the additional evidence adduced before it.” Id. at 250.

         The court must consider the evidence using the factors enumerated in 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g):

(1) the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, including whether the offense . . . involves . . . a ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.