Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Detention Hearings in Federal Court in Tampa can result in an immediate release for a client without the necessity of a motion for Detention Hearing, when the Government fails to establish that a detention of a federal defendant is necessary under the Federal Statute § 3142(f)(2). Call a Tampa Bay Federal Defense Attorney if you believe you're under threat from a Federal Investigation, Federal Grand Jury or Federal search warrant.

Here is some of the relevant Federal Law on Detention Hearings in Federal Court:

Under the Federal Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(1), the magistrate must hold a detention hearing on the motion of the prosecutor if the defendant is charged with:
·        a crime of violence.
·        any offense for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or death.
·        a drug offense for which the maximum term of imprisonment is ten years or more.
·        any other felony committed by a person previously convicted of two or more of the above offenses.

A hearing is also required on a motion of the prosecutor or on the judge's own motion in cases that involve an allegation of:
·        a serious risk of flight.
·        obstruction of justice.
·        intimidation of a prospective witness or juror.

Determination of Release or Detention

                        [1] Relevant Factors

In order to determine whether any condition(s) will reasonably ensure the appearance of the defendant and the safety of others, the magistrate must consider:
·        the nature of the offense charged.
·        the weight of the evidence against the defendant.
·        the defendant's physical and mental condition.
·        the defendant's ties to family and the community.
·        whether, at the time of the current arrest, the defendant was already on probation or parole or on pretrial release from another offense.

As you can see a Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney may be able to help make the best arguments for a Defendant's immediate release at a Federal Detention Hearing in Tampa Federal Court of a Motion for a Bond Reduction or ROR in State Court in Pinellas or Hillsborough County. 

Many Thanks to Attorney Fritz Scheller in Orlando for the following information about Middle District of Florida Detention Hearings which showed some excellent lawyering skills:

St. Paul in Prison - Rembrandt
Rembrandt, Paul in Prison, 1627
Recently, I had a detention hearing before Magistrate Judge Karla Spaulding in Orlando. The client had been detained before another magistrate under 18 USC § 3142(f) at her first appearance upon the government's motion. The issue before the court was whether the government could even seek detention under § 3142 since the defendant's crime did not qualify under § 3142(f)(1). Rather than filing a motion for a detention hearing, I moved for the defendant's immediate release since the government had failed to establish that a request for detention was warranted under § 3142(f)(2). A case that supports this contention is United States v. Ploof, 851 F.2d 7 (1st Cir. 1988).

At the hearing, the Federal Magistrate agreed, concluding  that since the case did not meet the criteria under § 3142(f)(1), the government had to offer evidence that the case qualified for a detention under § 3142(f)(2). That is, the government had to offer evidence that the defendant either posed a serious risk of flight or a serious risk of danger. Serious risk of danger under that section essentially requires a showing that the defendant poses a risk of obstruction or threat to witnesses. Despite this statutory requirement, the government only offered evidence of the nature of the defendant's crimes and weight of the evidence against her.