D.D.C.: Suppressed evidence [a confession] leads to grant of pretrial release

The question of the effect of suppressed evidence on the question of bail is considered at length in United States v. Taylor, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205 (D.D.C. Jan. 2, 2018), albeit here in a suppressed confession. The court concludes that the weight of the government’s case is iffy-er and, thus, the risk of flight is reduced. Therefore, defendant gets release.

As explained above, two of the four factors weigh in favor of continued detention, one factor weighs in favor of release, and third factor does not tip decidedly in either direction. Taylor’s motion, accordingly, presents a close question. On balance, however, the Court concludes that the government has not met its burden of establishing by clear and convincing evidence “that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f). A number of considerations bear emphasis. First, the “weight of the evidence” factor warrants particular attention in this case because the record is more substantially developed than in the typical case, and, as things currently stand, the Court is left with questions about whether and how the government will be able to meet its burden of proof at trial. Second, the record does not reveal any history of violence by Taylor. Although the Court is concerned about the multiple guns and large quantity of ammunition found in Taylor’s home, it is yet to be seen whether he personally exercised any dominion or control over these items. Third, Taylor’s drug conviction is almost a quarter-of-a-century old. Although sufficiently serious to warrant a ten year sentence, the underlying conduct was apparently committed when he was only about nineteen years old, and Taylor is now forty-three. Finally, the use of the high intensity supervision program and other conditions should mitigate any risk that Taylor’s pretrial release might otherwise present. The Court will, for example, require that Taylor remain at his sister’s residence, except under narrowly defined circumstances, and it will also prohibit Taylor from having contact with any potential witnesses without express authorization from the Court.

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