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In The Media :

What Issues Determine The Outcome Of A Detention Hearing? Part 1 of 2

Is the person a danger to the community? What the prosecutor will show is that this person’s had four arrests for gun-related offenses and a bank robbery or serious violent actions. Or there could be a threat by virtue of being a major kingpin in a drug-distribution ring, and the courts see that type of an issue. That’s one aspect of it. Are they a threat? Are they a threat to go out and commit more crimes, or to talk to witnesses, or to pull a gun on someone, things of that nature.

The US Attorney’s Office only has to meet one of these two. Second prong that they can look to is: is the person a risk of flight? Quite often you’ll find people who are arrested and brought in front of a federal magistrate, and the individual failed to appear six or seven times in the last hearing in the state court, for instance. Then, the judge will say, “Listen, we’re not going to chase you down. This is federal court. We’re going to make sure your present, so we’re going to detain you.”

Sometimes, you have people who have escaped from prison previously or just failed to appear and those are factors, so that the court will look to what roots does that individuals have in the community. Is their family located here? Is their husband, wife, parents located here? Sometimes, they’ll actually talk to the parents, and say, “Listen, we’re putting this individual in your custody, in the sense we want you to monitor them.”

In addition, the US Attorney’s Office will also present to the court an overview of the case and explain to the judge, “Listen, the weight of the evidence here is overwhelming against Mr. Jones or Ms. Smith or whoever it might be.” They will seek to have that individual detained just based on the weight of the evidence. It’s one of the factors. It’s not necessarily predominant.

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