Our Firm Obtains Release for Client Initially Denied Bond in SDGA Drug Trafficking Case

Last week, our firm was able to get a rare win in federal court—we convinced a federal judge to overturn a prior judge’s order denying our client bond in a large-scale federal drug trafficking case. As a result of that victory, our client will now get to prepare for his trial from the comfort and convenience of his home in Houston, Texas, rather than in a jail cell.

Our client was arrested back in November at his home in Houston, Texas based on allegations that he had mailed hundreds of kilograms of cocaine to different stash houses in Savannah, Georgia, and that he used different residences in Houston to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars back in drug proceeds. Our client was brought before a federal magistrate judge in the Southern District of Texas and was denied bond.

After being denied bond, our client was transferred to a jail in rural Georgia to await trial in the Southern District of Georgia, specifically Savannah. After spending several months in the Ware County jail, his family retained our firm to take over his defense. One of the first things we did was file a motion asking the judge in Georgia to consider overturning the Texas judge’s order denying our client bond.

Under 18 U.S.C. § 3145, a district court judge can overturn a magistrate judge’s order denying or granting bond after holding a hearing. In this case, we argued that a new bond hearing was warranted because the magistrate judge in Texas had mistakenly found that our client lied about his employment during his interview with pretrial services. Based on her belief that our client was willing to lie to federal officials, the magistrate judge found that he was a flight risk and danger to the community who could not be trusted on bond.

At the hearing in Savannah, we put up witnesses and evidence showing that our client never lied and that the magistrate judge’s belief to the contrary was based on a misunderstanding. We presented substantial evidence that our client was employed, contributed to his family and his community in Houston, and that he did not pose any danger or flight risk. Our most persuasive evidence, however, was probably a recording we presented to the court in which one of the agents who arrested our client told our client’s wife that he thought our client would be a “good candidate for a bond” based on his ties to the community.

After some deliberation, the district court in Savannah granted our motion, revoked the magistrate judge’s order of detention, and ordered that our client be released pending trial. Of course, the judge imposed several conditions of release, such as conditions requiring that our client limit his travel and maintain employment, but the important thing is that our client is back home and with his family. That will put him in a much better position to assist in his defense.

If you or a loved one is facing federal charges and has been detained, contact our firm to discuss your options. We are ready to fight for you.


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