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United States v. Mundy

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

August 8, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
NORMAN MUNDY, Defendant.

          ENTRY ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR DETENTION HEARING

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Norman Mundy's (“Mundy”) Motion for Detention Hearing (Filing No. 26) in which he moved to reopen the Pretrial Detention Order issued by the Magistrate Judge on June 7, 2019 (Filing No. 18 and Filing No. 19). In his Motion, Mundy asks the Court to revisit his detention status because the Magistrate Judge mistakenly considered someone else's conviction when reviewing Mundy's criminal history. For the reasons stated below, a hearing was granted, but the request for release is denied.

         I. FINDINGS OF FACT

         On May 23, 2019, an Indictment was filed which charged Mundy with Possession with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 grams or more of a Mixture or Substance Containing a Detectable Amount of Methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B) and 846. This felony drug offense carries a maximum sentence of forty years' imprisonment and a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of five years' imprisonment.

         On June 6, 2019, a detention hearing was held before the Magistrate Judge. Mundy, represented by counsel, was advised of his right to pretrial release under terms and conditions to ensure his appearance for trial. The Government orally motioned for Mundy's detention pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f). The Pretrial Services Report (“PS3”), prepared by a Probation Officer, was admitted into evidence without objection. The PS3 indicated that Mundy is unemployed, has daily methamphetamine use, a mental health history and has failed to appear in court when ordered to do so. The PS3 also stated that Mundy had a July 6, 2004 felony conviction for Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana in federal court in which two separate violations were filed on supervised release. The PS3 further reported a 2016 arrest for felony possession of methamphetamine, and a misdemeanor conviction for possessions of paraphernalia. Mundy scored a Category 4 on a pretrial risk assessment, indicating a relatively high risk of flight and/or danger to the community.

         The Government noted that Mundy was allegedly in possession of over 170 grams of crystal methamphetamine, along with digital scales, to support its contention that the case against Mundy was strong. The Government asserted, based on information provided in the PS3, that Mundy's 2004 felony conviction and 2016 conviction were reasons for detention. In particular, the Government argued “[m]ost notably, his most recent conviction was possession of methamphetamine as a felony. He was placed on probation, and that probation was revoked. Your honor, in total, the defendant has had four violations of probation.” This statement was not accurate. Unfortunately, neither Mundy nor his counsel challenged this argument or offered any correction to the PS3.

         At the conclusion of argument, the Magistrate Judge issued an order of detention pending trial finding that a rebuttable presumption for detention arises under 18 USC 3142(E)(3) and Mundy has not introduced sufficient evidence to rebut that presumption. (Filing No. 19 at 1.) The Magistrate Judge found by a preponderance of evidence that no condition or combination of conditions of release would reasonably assure Mundy's presence as required or safety to the community, based on the weight of evidence against him being strong, the lengthy period of incarceration if convicted, prior criminal history, alcohol and substance abuse history; lack of stable employment and prior failures to appear in court. Id. at 2-3.

         Mundy petitions for a new hearing asserting that an error in his criminal history reflected in the PS3 warrants his release. He disputes that he was convicted of “possession of methamphetamine, a felony, and two possessions of paraphernalia, a misdemeanor” and asserts that Michael Stevens, his former brother-in-law, was the person arrested and convicted of this crime. (See Filing No. 26 at 1.) A hearing was held on August 7, 2019 in which Mundy's counsel and the Government's attorney presented argument. The Court heard testimony from witness Special Agent Paul Meyer regarding the weight of the evidence against Mundy. The Government concedes the error in the PS3.

         II. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

         The procedures governing detention hearings are set forth in the Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. §3142, et. seq. Upon motion by the government in a case where a defendant is eligible for detention, the court must hold a detention hearing to determine whether any condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant as required and the safety of any other person and the community. See 18 U.S.C. §3142(f). In determining whether there are conditions of release that will reasonably assure a defendant's appearance and the safety of any other person and the community, the court must consider the following factors under 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g):

(1) the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, including whether the offense is a crime of violence . . .;
(2) the weight of the evidence against the accused;
(3) the history and characteristics of the person, including-
(A) the person's character, physical and mental condition, family ties, employment, financial resources, length of residence in the community, community ties, past conduct, history relating to drug or alcohol abuse, criminal history, ...

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