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United States v. Alexander

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Albany Division

January 2, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
SAM ALEXANDER, JR., Defendant.

          ORDER

          W. LOUIS SANDS, SR. JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Defendant Sam Alexander, Jr.. was arrested in connection with this proceeding on May 2, 2017. (Doc. 23.) On May 5, 2017, he was released on an appearance bond pending the resolution of the instant action. (Doc. 90.) The release, however, was short lived. On May 11, 2017, the Government filed a motion for revocation of the bond. (Doc. 112.) United States Magistrate Judge Thomas Q. Langstaff held a hearing on the motion on May 16, 2017 and the same day issued an order finding that Alexander “violated a condition of his release by using a controlled substance when Defendant signed an Admission of Drug Use form admitting the use of heroin on or about May 7, 2017.” (Doc. 132.) Moreover, Judge Langstaff found “that the government carried its burden by a preponderance of the evidence that there is no condition or combination of conditions that will assure the Defendant will not flee or pose a danger to the safety of the community, and that the Defendant is unlikely to abide by any condition or combination of conditions of release.” (Id.) Accordingly, he ordered Alexander to be detained until further order of the court. (Id.)

         On November 14, 2017, Alexander filed a Motion for Revocation or Amendment of Detention Order, challenging Judge Langstaff's detention order. (Doc. 184.) On November 17, 2017, the Court asked Alexander “(1) to clarify whether he is in fact appealing the magistrate's ruling under § 3145(b) or requesting to reopen the hearing, and (2) to explain whether the motion is timely (in the case of an appeal) or permitted by statute (in the case of reopening a revocation proceeding).” (Doc. 185.) Alexander responded that he intended to pursue both avenues. (Doc. 186.)

         Judge Langstaff first considered whether to reopen the proceedings. He found that he did not have the authority to do so under 18 U.S.C. § 3142. However, even assuming he could reopen the proceedings, Judge Langstaff found that the evidence proffered by Alexander did not meet the standards of § 3142(f). Alexander presented eight pieces of new evidence which he asserted justified his release:

1) that Defendant has a minor child, with whom he was actively involved prior to detention;
2) Defendant's grandmother was being celebrated at a family gathering on Thanksgiving;
3) that the government's evidence against Defendant most likely supports a lower prison sentence exposure than contemplated at the time of the original hearing;
4) that Defendant has been incarcerated for a period of time that makes stringent conditions of drug testing and treatment viable release options;
5) that the incarceration period and Defendant's opportunity costs of lost family interaction have reinforced the need for Defendant to be fully compliant with bond conditions;
6) that Defendant's grandmother is ill;
7) that Defendant's cousin and uncle recently passed away; and
8) that the drug test sample taken by the USPO was not sent for testing and was destroyed.

(Doc. 190 at 2-3 (formatting altered).) Judge Langstaff found that the first justification was not new, the second was moot, and the remaining were immaterial. (Id. at 3.)

         Following the order, Alexander filed a supplemental brief as to his appeal. (Doc. 193.) The Government has responded. (Doc. 198.) Alexander has yet to file a reply and his opportunity to do so has expired. (Doc. 191.) The issue is now ripe for a ruling.

         The Court notes that while the appeal was pending, Larry O'Hara, a man purporting to be Alexander's pastor and an NAACP officer, sent the Court an email with “information” that “certain lawyers do not want you to know.” (Doc. 197.) That information was a collection of medical documents. The Court filed the email with attachments under seal on the docket. (Id.) ...


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