2013 Jun-04 PM 12:04
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, )
DEANDRE R. MURRELL.
Case No. 2:13-cr-140-SLB-JEO-5
FINDINGS OF FACT AND STATEMENT OF
REASONS FOR PRETRIAL DETENTION
This matter is before the Court on the Government’s motion for pretrial
detention of defendant Deandre Murrell. The Government contends that there is
no condition or combination of conditions that the Court may impose that will
reasonably assure that Mr. Murrell will appear as required and that he will not
endanger the safety of any other person and the community. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
§ 3142(f), the Court conducted a detention hearing on May 29, 2013. Based on
the record created at the hearing, the Court ordered the pretrial detention of Mr.
Murrell. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142(i)(1), the Court provides the following
written findings of fact and statement of the reasons for pretrial detention.
In an indictment dated April 25, 2013, the Grand Jury charged that Mr.
Murrell allegedly violated 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 843(b), and 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(A), and
(b)(1)(C). These charges pertain to an alleged conspiracy to distribute and the
unlawful distribution of heroin and other controlled substances.
At his initial appearance on May 21, 2013, the Court set a detention hearing
for May 24, 2013. (May 22, 2013 docket entry). The Court ordered Mr. Murrell’s
temporary detention pending the May 24, 2013 detention hearing. (Doc. 23). At
the detention hearing. Mr Murrell’s retained counsel noted that he had just become
involved in the case. He requested a recess in the detention hearing so that he
could consult with his client and prepare for the hearing.
The detention hearing resumed on May 29, 2013. The Government noted
the presumption in favor of detention. Because of his criminal history, given the
charges against him, the Government contends that Mr. Murrell is facing a
potential life sentence, so he is likely to flee if released pretrial. The
Government’s witness testified that police attempted to stop Mr. Murrell on one
occasion, but Murrell fled from police. Although they did not get the license
number of the vehicle during the chase that ensued, police identified the vehicle
that Murrell was driving as a white Jeep Cherokee. Agents are confident that Mr.
Murrell was involved in the chase because he discussed it with one of his co-
defendants, Billy Williams, Jr., in a recorded telephone conversation. When
The Government seeks the forfeiture of certain property pursuant to 21
U.S.C. § 853(a)(1) and (a)(2).
agents arrested Mr. Murrell, they seized a white Jeep Cherokee. There were no
drugs or weapons in the car when agents seized it.
According to the Pretrial Services Report, Mr. Murrell currently is self-
employed in the field of landscaping, but he is unable to confirm a monthly
income. His last employer was T&F Electrical Services in Birmingham. He
worked for that company for six (6) months in 2007.
The Pretrial Services Report provides a description of Mr. Murrell’s
criminal history. That history begins in 2008 when Mr. Murrell was 22 years old
and runs through 2011. All of the criminal charges in the report pertain to drug
use or drug trafficking. Significantly, on March 10, 2010, Mr. Murrell began
serving 36 months of probation on charges relating to receipt and possession of
controlled substances. While Mr. Murrell was on probation, the state court issued
warrants for his arrest for violation of the terms of probation on three separate
occasions. That probation was terminated on August 12, 2011. Mr. Murrell also
was arrested for alleged probation violations on separate charges for possession of
a controlled substance. The conduct alleged in the federal indictment against Mr.
Murrell occurred while he was on bond on pending state court charges for
trafficking and possession of controlled substances. Based on this information,
During the detention hearing, the Government suggested that one of those possession
charges involved heroin.
the United States Probation Office recommends detention.
Mr. Murrell’s aunt expressed her willingness to serve as a third-party
custodian and testified that she understands the responsibilities that she would
undertake if the Court appointed her. Mr. Murrell’s aunt acknowledged that Mr.
Murrell was living with her in 2010 or 2011 while he was on probation. She was
not aware that he had encountered problems with his probation while he lived at
AND STATEMENT OF THE REASONS FOR DETENTION
FINDINGS OF FACT
Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142, the Court grants the Government’s request for
pretrial detention. As an initial matter, § 3142(e)’s rebuttable presumption in
favor of detention applies in this case. With the presumption in favor of detention
as a backdrop, the Court considered the § 3142(g) factors that the Court must take
into account in determining whether there are conditions that would reasonably
assure Mr. Murrell’s future appearance at proceedings in this matter and the safety
of the community if the Court were to release Mr. Murrell. Those four factors
weigh in favor of detention.
The first factor, the nature and circumstances of the offense charged,
counsels in favor of detention. Mr. Murrell is named as a member of a conspiracy
concerning distribution of heroin, cocaine, codeine, and hydrocodone. The
indictment also charges that Mr. Murrell participated in telephone calls designed
to further that conspiracy. The second factor, the weight of the evidence against
Mr. Murrell, also supports detention. Although he is presumed innocent, the
Government played a recorded conversation between Mr. Murrell and one of his
co-defendants that supports the conspiracy charge against Mr. Murrell. In
addition, when police first tried to stop Mr. Murrell, he fled from them. He later
reported his escape from police in a recorded telephone conversation with one of
his purported co-conspirators. Mr. Murrell’s criminal history, including his drug
possession and trafficking convictions and alleged probation violations, support
detention as does the fact that Mr. Murrell was on bond on state drug charges
when the conduct at issue in the indictment occurred. Finally, there is a
significant risk that Mr. Murrell might flee because of the potential sentence that
he faces in this matter.
The Court acknowledges Mr. Murrell’s efforts to identify a suitable third-
party custodian, but the Court finds that Mr. Murrell’s aunt is not a suitable
custodian under the circumstances, in large part because she was unaware of his
arrests for alleged probation violations that seem to have occurred while Mr.
Murrell was living with his aunt. Accordingly, the Court finds that Mr. Murrell
has failed to rebut the presumption in favor of detention. The Court accepts the
United States Probation Office’s detention recommendation.
Having considered the nature of the charges against Mr. Murrell, the
evidence that the Government has described, and Mr. Murrell’s criminal history
together with the applicable presumption, the Court finds that there is no condition
or combination of conditions that the Court may impose that would reasonably
assure that Mr. Murrell would not flee or pose a threat to a member of the
community. Therefore, the Court orders his pretrial detention.
Done, this the 4th day of June, 2013.
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA
U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE