Alexandria Federal Detention Hearings and Bond Motions
In Alexandria Virginia’s United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
Bail and Detention in Criminal Cases: The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “excessive bail shall not be required . . .” U.S. Const. Amend. VIII. The United States Supreme Court has interpreted this amendment to prohibit the imposition of excessive bail without creating a right to bail in criminal cases. But, the Eighth amendment does not grant absolute right to bail. The subject of bail and detention also implicates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.
Pretrial services officers have the authority to collect information from defendants and other sources relative to the matter of bail. Pretrial services officers are authorized to make recommendations as to whether a defendant should be detained or released, including specific recommendations regarding conditions of release. Pretrial services officers are also authorized to establish facilities for and conduct the supervision of defendants released.
Upon the appearance before a judicial officer of a person charged with an offense, the judicial officer shall make a determination regarding bail status of the defendant, and shall enter an order designating a defendant’s custodial status” under one of four categories:
-released on personal recognizance or upon execution of an unsecured appearance bond (following the provisions of Section 3142(b));
-released on a condition or combination of conditions as defined by Section 3142(c);
-temporarily detained to permit revocation of conditional release, deportation, or exclusion under Section 3142(d); or
-detained pursuant to the provisions of Section 3142(e).
Factors Judicial Officer Must Take Into Consideration Regarding A Defendant’s Eligibility For Release: When making a determination regarding the eligibility of a defendant for pretrial release (whether personal recognizance , unsecured appearance bond, or release on conditions), the judicial officer must consider the factors listed in Section 3142(g), including:
-the nature and circumstances of the offense (in particular whether it is an offense which is violent or nonviolent in nature, or involves narcotics);
-the weight of the evidence against the person;
-the history and characteristics of the person —
character — including physical and mental condition), family ties, employment, financial resources, length of time in the community, community ties, past conduct history relating to drug or alcohol abuse, criminal history, record of court appearances; and
-whether, at the time of the current offense or arrest, the person was on probation, on parole, or on other release pending trial, sentencing, appeal, or completion of sentence for an offense under Federal, State, or local law; and
-the nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or to the community that would be posed by the person’s release.
In addition to considering evidence of the factors set forth above, the court may upon its own motion, or upon the motion of the government attorney, conduct an inquiry into the source of any property to be designated for potential forfeiture or offered as collateral to secure any bond. If the court determines that any such collateral or property, because of its source, will not reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant as required, the designation or use of the collateral or property as security for a bond shall be refused.
Considerations Regarding Temporary Detention Orders: requires a judicial officer to enter an order of temporary detention in cases where a factual determination is made that the defendant:
– is, and was at the time the offense was committed, on release pending trial for a felony under Federal, State, or local law;
– release pending imposition or execution of sentence, appeal of sentence or conviction, or completion of sentence, for any offense under Federal, State, or local law; or
– probation or parole for any offense under Federal, State, or local law; OR
– is not a citizen of the United States or lawfully admitted for permanent residence, as defined in section 101(a)(20) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(2); AND
– the defendant may flee or pose a danger to any other person or the community.
Application of the Rebuttable Presumption: Title 18, United States Code, Section 3142(e) contains three categories of criminal offenses that give rise to a rebuttable presumption that “no condition or combination of conditions” will (1) “reasonably assure” the safety of any other person and the community if the defendant is released; or (2) “reasonably assure” the appearance of the defendant as required and “reasonably assure” the safety of any other person and the community if the defendant is released. These three categories are:
A judicial officer finds that:
1) the person has been convicted of a Federal offense that is described in subsection (f)(1) of this section, or of a State or local offense that would have been an offense described in subsection (f)(1) of this section if a circumstance giving rise to Federal jurisdiction had existed;
2) the offense described in paragraph one of this subsection was committed while the person was on release pending trial for a Federal, State, or local offense; and
3) a period of not more than five years has elapsed since the date of conviction, or the release of the person from imprisonment, for the offense described in paragraph (1) of this subsection, whichever is later.
A judicial officer finds that there is probable cause to believe that the person committed an offense for which a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years or more is prescribed.
A judicial officer finds that there is probable cause to believe that the person committed an offense under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c).
The rebuttable presumption relating to both “risk of flight” and “danger to the community” pertains to those cases where the judicial officer finds there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed: (1) a drug offense (as defined under Title 21) when the maximum term of imprisonment is 10 years or more; or (2) an offense under Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c).
The indictment alone is sufficient to raise the rebuttable presumption that no condition (or combination of conditions) will ensure the defendant’s reappearance for trial and that no conditions of release will ensure the safety of the community.
Bail Application Following Pretrial Detention: When a defendant moves for release on bail following pretrial detention, the court must consider three factors: “(1) the length of the pretrial detention; (2) the extent to which the prosecution is responsible for the delay of the trial; and (3) the strength of the evidence upon which the pretrial detention was based.”