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United States v. Snodgrass

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICTT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


December 10, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STEVEN SNODGRASS, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Clifford J. Proud United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

This matter is before the Court on the Government's Motion to Revoke Bond. (Doc. 30).

The title of the motion is somewhat inaccurate, as the Government is not alleging that defendant has violated the terms of his release; thus, the motion is not made pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §3148. Rather, the Government is seeking reconsideration of the order releasing defendant on bond based on information that was unknown to the Government at the time that bond was granted.

A. Order for Detention

On December 10, 2009, the court held a hearing on the Government's motion. The Court applied the standards set forth in hearing under 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f). Based on the proffers, testimony under oath, the exhibit received in evidence, and the indictment, the Court GRANTS Government's Motion to Revoke Bond (Doc. 30) and orders the above-named defendant detained pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e) and (i).

The Government presented information about defendant which has only recently come to light as a result of further investigation by U.S. Postal Service agents. This information includes the following:

1. Defendant's voice is audible on a 2001 videotape of a very young girl in a swimming suit.

2. Defendant actually produced, possessed and brought into this district a video on which the genital area of a 10 year old girl is prominent.

3. Defendant's ex-wife stated that defendant had molested her 7 year old niece.

4. Defendant's niece, now 39 (not the niece referred to in paragraph 3 above), was recently interviewed and told Postal Inspectors that she had been molested as a child by defendant, as have three of her four daughters.

In addition, the Government presented the following information which was previously known to it, but was not previously presented to the Court:

1. Defendant's neighbor contacted the U.S.P.S. regarding defendant having taken photographs of a thirteen year old girl. This neighbor has a restraining order against defendant.

2. The Government presented a copy of an order form, signed by defendant, whereby defendant ordered 3 different DVDs depicting a ten year old female engaged in sexual activities. See, Government Exhibit 1.

If the Court had possessed the above information when detention was originally addressed on May 6, 2009, the Court would not have released defendant on bond.

B. Statement of Reasons for the Detention

The Court orders the defendant's detention because it finds: U By a preponderance of the evidence that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant as required.

U By clear and convincing evidence that no condition or combinations of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community.

C. Finding of Fact

The Court's findings are based on the evidence which was presented in Court and that which was contained in the Pretrial Services Report, and includes the following:

U (1) Nature and circumstances of the offense charged:

U (a) The crime:

Count 1:

Receipt of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §2252(a)(2);

Penalties: 5 to 20 years imprisonment, a $250,000.00 fine, or both, and 5 years to life supervised release.

Count 2:

Possession of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §2252(a)(4)(B);

Penalties:

Not more than 10 years imprisonment, a $250,000.00 fine, or both, and 5 years to life supervised release..

Count 3:

Possession of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §2252(a)(4)(B);

Penalties:

Not more than 10 years imprisonment, a $250,000.00 fine, or both, and 5 years to life supervised release.

Count 4:

Forfeiture of computer equipment, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §2253(a)(3).

(b) The offense is a crime of violence.

(c) The offense is a Federal crime of terrorism.

T (d) The offense involves a minor victim.

(e) The offense involves a controlled substance, firearm, explosive, or destructive device;

(f) The offense involves a narcotic drug.

(g) The offense involves a large amount of controlled substances, to wit:

U (2) The weight of the evidence against the defendant is high. U (3) The history and characteristics of the defendant, including:

(a) General Factors:

___ The defendant appears to have a mental condition which may affect whether the defendant will appear.

The defendant has no family ties in the area.

The defendant has no steady employment.

The defendant has no substantial financial resources.

The defendant is not a long time resident of the community.

___ The defendant does not have any significant community ties.

T Past conduct of the defendant: defendant produced a child pornography video, sexually abused at least 5 minor victims, took photographs of a pre-pubescent child in a way that made her feel uncomfortable, and possessed a video entitled "When Girls Don't Tell," which purports to be an informational video about girls not disclosing sexual abuse.

___ The defendant has a history relating to drug abuse. ___ The defendant has a history relating to alcohol abuse.

The defendant has a significant prior criminal record.

The defendant has a prior record of failure to appear at court proceedings.

(b) Whether the defendant was on probation, parole, or release by a court:

At the time of the current arrest, the defendant was on:

___ Probation

Parole

___ Release pending trial, sentence, appeal or completion of sentence.

(c) Other Factors:

The defendant is an illegal alien and is subject to deportation.

___ The defendant is a legal alien and will be subject to deportation if convicted.

T Other: the Government has indicated that it intends to charge defendant with production of child pornography, which will expose defendant to a life sentence. This creates a risk that defendant will flee.

Other:

T (4) The nature and seriousness of the danger by the defendant's release are as follows: the information set forth above regarding defendant's past conduct establishes that defendant poses a risk of serious danger to the community.

(5) Rebuttable Presumptions

The Court finds the defendant is subject to and has not rebutted the rebuttable presumption that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant as required and the safety of any other person and the community, as set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e). In determining that the defendant is subject to the rebuttable presumption(s) set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e), the Court finds:

(A) Probable cause to believe that the defendant committed a controlled substance offense for which a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years or more is prescribed under Titles 21 or 46; or

(B) Probable cause to believe that the defendant committed an offense under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c); or

(C) The defendant is charged with:

____ (1) A crime of violence; or ____ (2) A crime for which the maximum penalty is either death or life imprisonment; or ____ (3) A drug offense for which the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment or more; or ____ (4) Any felony if the defendant has been convicted of two or more offenses described in subparagraphs (1) through (3) above (or the state or local equivalent), or any combination of such offenses; and the defendant has a prior conviction for one of the crimes described in subparagraphs (1) through (3) above, and said conviction, or the release from imprisonment therefor, is less than five years old and was committed while the defendant was on pre-trial release.

The Court, in finding that there are no conditions or combination of conditions which reasonably will assure the defendant's appearance and the safety of any other person and the community has considered and rejected alternatives. Among the alternatives considered, the Court has rejected house arrest and a daily reporting scheme. In rejecting these alternatives, the Court notes the gravity of the offense and the substantial penalties which may possibly be imposed

D. Additional Directives

Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142(i)(2)-(4), the Court directs that: The defendant be committed to the custody of the Attorney General for confinement in a corrections facility separate, to the extent practicable from persons awaiting or serving sentences or being held in custody pending appeal; and

The defendant be afforded reasonable opportunity for private consultation with his counsel; and

That, on order of a court of the United States, or on request of an attorney for the Government, the person in charge of the corrections facility in which the defendant is confined deliver the defendant to a United States Marshal for the purpose of an appearance in connection with a court proceedings.

20091210

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