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United States v. Jones

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

February 27, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ASHLEY JONES, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          PHILIP P. SIMON, JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Ashley Jones' Motion for Review of the Detention Order [DE 96]. I have reviewed the bond hearing held before Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich on February 11, 2019, concur with the order of detention revoking Jones' bond, and DENY Jones' request to be released back on bond in this case.

         Background

         In this case, Jones is charged by way of a superseding indictment with conspiracy to use a DEA registration number issued to other persons for the purpose of obtaining a Schedule V controlled substance in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 843(a)(1) (Count 1), conspiracy to obtain possession of the same Schedule V controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception and subterfuge in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 843(a)(3) (Count 2), and using the DEA registration number of another person to attempt to obtain possession of a Schedule V controlled substance (Count 11). [DE 32.] Jones pleaded not guilty and was released on an unsecured bond on September 24, 2018. Trial was initially scheduled for January 7, 2019, but was continued to June 3, 2019. Defense counsel and the Government both agree that Jones is facing a low guideline range (likely zero to six months incarceration if she were to plead guilty to the pending charges or proceed to trial and be found guilty).

         On February 6, 2019, the pre-trial services officer for Jones filed a Petition for Action on Conditions of Pre-trial release [DE 89] setting forth that Jones failed to report for drug testing on five occasions: October 16, 2018, December 13, 2018, December 27, 2018, January 3, 2019, and January 25, 2019. Additionally, Jones tested positive for marijuana and cocaine on September 12, 2018, and positive for cocaine on January 28, 2019.

         A hearing was held before Magistrate Judge Andrew Rodovich on February 11, 2019, which I have reviewed in detail. Government counsel provided argument at the hearing and defense counsel called as a witness Rosalyn Anderson (Ashley Jones' mother). According to the Government, Jones was unwilling/unable to comply with her supervision. Probation gave Jones multiple opportunities and tried to work with her, but she was combative regarding the drug testing, gave repeated excuses about submitting to testing, and was just unwilling to cooperate with probation. The request for bond revocation was initiated by probation only after several informal unsuccessful attempts to correct Jones' behavior. Jones is also on probation in a state case in Illinois, and has a history of noncompliance with probation there as well.

         In turn, Rosalyn Anderson testified that Jones was the primary care giver for her grandmother who suffers from Alzheimer's and her uncle who is disabled and in a wheelchair. According to Anderson, it would pose a hardship on these individuals if Jones was incarcerated. Anderson also testified that Jones' father passed away on December 22, 2018 (and she tested positive for cocaine in January 2019), and Jones suffers from depression, diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, and mood swings. Anderson testified she would help Jones make any probation meetings in the future. Defense counsel also argued that Jones missed one meeting with probation because she had been hospitalized due to food poisoning, that she missed another because she needed medical care after a car accident, and that she has a different attitude now and is willing to comply with the terms of her supervised release.

         At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Rodovich revoked Jones' bond and remanded her to custody pending trial. [DE 94, 95.] He reasoned that Jones chose not to cooperate, that she repeatedly violated the terms of her pretrial release, and he did not believe that Jones would cooperate with probation in the future if she was released.

         Analysis

          Title 18 section 3145(b) provides for district court review of a magistrate's detention order. When doing so, I must conduct a de novo review, and need not defer to the magistrate's findings. United States v. Levine, 770 F.Supp. 460, 464 (N.D. Ind. 1991).

         The revocation of bond is governed by 18 U.S.C. § 3148, which provides that a judicial officer shall enter an order of revocation and detention if, after a hearing, the judicial officer:

(1) finds that there is -
(A) probable cause to believe that the person has committed a Federal, State, or local ...

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