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United States v. Stepp

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

April 5, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
BRIAN K. STEPP, Defendant.

          CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO, JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          WILLIAM H. BAUGHMAN, JR., United States Magistrate Judge

         Introduction

         This case came before me on the motion of the United States to revoke defendant Brian K. Stepp's bond under 18 U.S.C. § 3148. I held an evidentiary hearing on the motion on March 28, 2017.[1] On March 29, 2017, I entered an order granting the motion, revoking the bond, and committing Stepp to custody.[2] This memorandum and order elaborates upon the reasons for granting the motion.

         Issues

         The motion of the United States presented two issues for decision:

• The statute provides for revocation of bond upon a finding of probable cause that the defendant has committed a state crime while on release. Stepp made arrangements for a physical assault upon two persons who made allegations to Stepp's customers that Stepp owed these persons money. The assaults did not take place. Has the movant shown probable cause that Stepp committed the offense of complicity to commit attempted assault?
• If such probable cause exists, the statute provides for a rebuttable presumption arises that no conditions will assure that Stepp will not pose a danger to the community or the safety of others. Stepp submits that conditions such as electronic monitoring will eliminate such danger. Has Stepp rebutted the statutory presumption in favor of revocation?

         A. Statement of the Case

         The grand jury returned an indictment against Stepp on multiple counts for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, false statement of loan application, and false statement.[3]At the arraignment, Pretrial Services recommended release on a bond, and the United States concurred in that recommendation.[4] Magistrate Judge Greenberg issued an order setting conditions of release, which included “[t]he defendant must not violate federal, state, or lo c a l law while on release.”[5]

         On March 22, 2017 the Court issued an arrest warrant for Stepp for violation of his conditions of release.[6] Stepp was arrested the next day. At his initial appearance the United States moved to revoke his bond, and the Court set the motion for a hearing.[7] Stepp remained in custody pending the outcome of the hearing.[8]

         After an evidentiary hearing, the Court ordered Stepp to remain in custody pending the ruling on the motion to revoke bond.[9] The Court entered its ruling granting the motion, revoking the bond, and remanding Stepp to the custody of the United States Marshal.[10]

         B. Statement of the Facts[11]

         Stepp became upset when a man named Gary Stout of Stout Lumber, to whom he owed approximately $9000, went to two of Stepp's customers to collect from them money that they owed Stepp, giving notice of intention to place a lien on that money. Although Stepp threatened Stout once or twice, he responded that he intended to go to various municipalities to find out where Stepp had open permits.

         Stepp then approached a man (CW) about shutting up Stout, and CW responded that “[t]hat can be handled.” Stepp said that he wanted Stout hurt and offered $500, $250 now and $250 “when it's done.” Apparently Stout's son had come to a construction site the day before, and CW had seen him at the time. Stepp explained that he wanted a message sent to Stout and to the son also. Stepp wanted CW to break the jaws of Stout and his son so that they would have to have their jaws wired up and could not talk.

         Thereafter Stout went with CW to the Stout Lumber yard to identify Stout and his son. CW photographed Stepp at the counter. Stepp cautioned that he did not want anything said to the Stouts during the beating and nothing said at ...


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