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United States v. Chisholm

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

June 20, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff
v.
Keith Chisholm Defendant

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          JEFFREY J. HELMICK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Defendant Keith Chisholm seeks an order from me releasing him on bond under terms and conditions proposed first to Magistrate Judge James R. Knepp II, and later under conditions as supplemented at a hearing before me. I deny the Defendant's request for bond and order his continued detention.

         I. Background

         The Defendant was arrested on March 9, 2017, pursuant to multi-defendant indictment charging him with three counts: (1) Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Heroin and Cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, as set forth in Count 1 of the indictment; (2) Use of a Telecommunications Facility to Facilitate a Drug Conspiracy, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(b), as set forth in Count 61 of the indictment; and (3) Felon in Possession of a Firearm or Ammunition, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), as set forth in Count 75 of the indictment. Mr. Chisholm has been detained continuously since his arrest, and has previously sought release on bond with Magistrate Judge Knepp, who conducted a detention hearing at the Defendant's request on March 24. Over the course of that hearing, terms of release were proposed and testimony was taken from defense witnesses as proposed custodians or those willing to post property to assure his release, or both. The government introduced recordings of jail telephone conversations between the Defendant and his girlfriend.

         Shortly after the conclusion of that hearing, Magistrate Judge Knepp denied Mr. Chisholm's release, finding he had not overcome the presumption of detention in this case. Citing the rebuttal presumption in favor of detention, 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)(3), Judge Knepp expressed concern about release of Mr. Chishom for a number of reasons, including the short time between his release from parole supervision on earlier state drug charges and his charges in this case; items seized pursuant to a search warrant of his sometime residence, including a handgun, ammunition, and drug paraphernalia; some potentially troubling comments about his comments to his girlfriend on the jail telephone system; and inconsistencies about his residency and patterns of activity.

         Mr. Chisholm subsequently objected to this order of detention on April 13 (Doc. No. 124). He supplemented his objection with a helpful memorandum (Doc. No. 139). I conducted a hearing on Mr. Chisholm's objections on April 28, and he supplemented his argument by way of a post-hearing memorandum filed May 22 (Doc. No. 156). The matter is currently decisional before me.

         II. Analysis

         In deciding Mr. Chisholm's request for release, I have reviewed the transcript from his hearing before the Magistrate Judge and the attendant detention order, the conditions he has proposed, the testimony of all witnesses, including proposed custodians, Mr. Chisholm's written arguments, and the oral arguments of counsel at both hearings.

         As already correctly stated by Magistrate Judge Knepp, the nature of the charges against the Defendant result in a rebuttable presumption for detention. As an initial matter, a decision on this bond request is mine to make alone and anew. My review of the evidence and issue must be de novo.

         In making my decision, I review the issue of continued detention or release under the criteria set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g):

(g) Factors to be considered.--The judicial officer shall, in determining whether there are conditions of release that will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of any other person and the community, take into account the available information concerning--
(1) the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, including whether the offense is a crime of violence, a violation of section 1591, a Federal crime of terrorism, or involves a minor victim or a controlled substance, firearm, explosive, or destructive device;
(2) the weight of the evidence against the person;
(3) the history and characteristics of the person, ...

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