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United States v. You

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee

June 10, 2019




         On April 24, 2019, United States Magistrate Judge Clifton L. Corker held a detention hearing for defendant Xiaorong You. [Doc. 26]. The Magistrate Judge determined defendant should be detained pending trial pursuant to the Bail Reform Act of 1984, 18 U.S.C. §§ 3141, et seq. [Doc. 30]. Thereafter, defendant filed a “Notice of Objections to Order of Detention Pending Trial, ” [Doc. 31], and the United States has responded, [Doc. 32]. The defendant, through counsel, seeks a reversal of the Magistrate Judge's decision to detain her pending trial. For the reasons that follow, the Court overrules defendant's objections to Magistrate Judge Corker's detention order and defendant shall remain in custody pending trial.

         I. BACKGROUND


         On February 12, 2019, a grand jury returned an indictment in this case charging defendant, alongside a co-defendant, with one count of conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1832(a)(5), one count of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and seven counts of theft of trade secrets in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1832(a)(3). [Doc. 3].

         Consistent with the Court's local practice, the Magistrate Judge presided over defendant's initial appearance, arraignment, and detention hearing. The Magistrate Judge determined detention was required in this case, and imposed detention pending trial. [Doc. 30].


         In his April 25, 2019 detention order, [Doc. 30], the Magistrate Judge discussed defendant's risk of flight. The findings in the detention order were based on testimony of the defense witness, Linda Xu, defendant's adult daughter, and the government's witness, Agent William Leckrone, an investigator with the FBI Knoxville field office. [Doc. 27]. Defendant also submitted two character affidavits in support of her position. [Docs. 20-1, 20-2]. Based on this evidence, the Magistrate Judge found that defendant was a flight risk.

         The Magistrate Judge held that the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g) leaned in favor of detention. [Doc. 30 at 7]. The Magistrate Judge found defendant's charges of conspiracy to commit theft of trade secrets, wire fraud, and theft of trade secrets supported detention. Specifically, the Magistrate Judge determined that the underlying facts of the charges included a substantial connection with a foreign government and a foreign national, which weighed in favor of detention. [Id. at 2-5].

         The Magistrate Judge also determined that § 3142(g)(2) supported detention prior to trial. He discussed how the weight of the evidence regarding defendant's risk of flight was substantial, including defendant's extensive connections to China, financial means to travel internationally, and defendant's possession of a bag that contained various foreign currencies, her passport, her diploma, naturalization papers, and bank statements from a bank in China. [Id. at 4-5].

         Similarly, the Magistrate Judge determined that defendant's history and characteristics under § 3142(g)(3) favored detention. Defendant has no familial or community ties to East Tennessee, but has substantial connections to China. Further, the Magistrate Judge determined that defendant's financial ties to China, and her development of connections within the Chinese government through being awarded prestigious grant-like awards weighed in favor of pretrial detention. The Magistrate Judge noted that detention is further supported by the fact that defendant's contacts are with China, a country that does not have an extradition treaty with the United States. [Id. at 6].

         Ultimately, the Magistrate Judge concluded: “[t]he Court finds that no conditions of release or combination of conditions, including considering the proposed conditions suggested by Defendant, would reasonably assure her appearance as required. Accordingly, the Court finds that she should be detained pending trial.” [Id. at 7]. Defendant, through counsel, seeks review of the Magistrate Judge order, [Id.], and the Court considers the matter de novo.

         II. ANALYSIS

         Review of a detention order governed by 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b), which states:

If a person is ordered detained by a magistrate judge, or by a person other than a judge of a court having original jurisdiction over the offense and other than a Federal appellate court, the person may file, with the court having original jurisdiction over the offense, a motion for revocation or amendment of the order. The motion shall be determined promptly.

18 U.S.C. § 3145(b). This Court conducts a de novo review of a Magistrate Judge's detention order. See United States v. Villegas, No. 3:11-CR-28, 2011 WL 1135018, at *4 (E.D. Tenn. Mar. 25, 2011); see also United States v. Romans, No. 00-5456, 2000 WL 658042, at *1 (6th Cir. May 9, 2000).

         A defendant should be detained without bond pending trial if a “judicial officer finds that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of any other person and the community.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)(1). Generally, in order to be detained, the government must establish a risk of flight by a preponderance of the evidence or dangerousness to any other person or the community by clear and convincing evidence[1]. United States v. Hinton, 113 Fed. App'x 76, 77 (6th Cir. 2004). See 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f)(2)(b). “Pretrial detention can be ordered based on a judicial finding of either substantial danger to the community or risk of flight; only one is required.” United States v. Hernandez, No. 1:02-CR-006, 2002 WL 1377911, at *3 (E.D. Tenn. Feb. 27, 2002) (citing United States v. Portes, 786 F.2d 758, 765 (7th Cir. 1985)). The Sixth Circuit ...

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