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FILED

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

SOUTHERN DIVISION

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, )
)
)
)
)

DEANDRE R. MURRELL.

v.

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.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

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

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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

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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.

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Murrell occurred while he was on bond on pending state court charges for

trafficking and possession of controlled substances. Based on this information,

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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

her house.

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.

CONCLUSION

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