Thursday, July 17, 2014

District Court Failed to Make Proper Findings to Support Pretrial Detention

U.S. v. Gerkin, 2014 WL 2978549 (7/3/14) (Ut.) (unpub'd) - The 10th declares what we all know not be true in federal court that "liberty is the norm" when it comes to whether or not criminal defendants are released or detained. In this case, the district court erred when it detained Mr. Gerkin without deciding whether there were any conditions or combination of conditions that could reasonably assure Mr. Gerkin's appearance and the safety of the community. Moreover, the district court needed to explain why it shifted the rationale for detention from the magistrate judge's danger rationale to flight risk. It also had to make factual findings supporting its flight risk determination. Without the necessary findings the 10th could not properly review the detention decision. The 10th remanded for proper findings.