United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. BRACK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the government's appeal of
Magistrate Judge Fouratt's order of release for Defendant
Kenneth Dickerson. Judge Fouratt ruled that strict conditions
of release would be enough to prevent Mr. Dickerson from
fleeing law enforcement or threatening the community. The
government disagrees, citing evidence that it repeatedly
failed to disclose to Judge Fouratt.
Kenneth Dickerson is a 56-year-old man living in New Mexico.
The government suspects Mr. Dickerson and another individual,
Ethan Watts, of being part of a Drug Trafficking Organization
(DTO) that distributes methamphetamine. (See Doc.
148 at 3-4.) As part of its investigation into the DTO, the
government intercepted and read text messages between Mr.
Dickerson and Mr. Watts. (See Id. at 4.)
on the intercepted texts, the government determined that in
July 2017 Mr. Dickerson gave almost all his money to Mr.
Watts so Mr. Watts could buy four ounces of methamphetamine
for Mr. Dickerson. (See Id. at 6-7.) Unsettled about
leaving almost all his money to Mr. Watts for a drug
transaction, Mr. Dickerson texted Mr. Watts, “ok bro if
something happens kill the motherfuckers.” (See
Id. at 6.)
that day, government agents saw Mr. Dickerson stop by Mr.
Watts's residence for a few minutes. (Id. at 7.)
As Mr. Dickerson was driving away from Mr. Watts's
residence, police detained Mr. Dickerson. (Id.) In
Mr. Dickerson's pocket and car, police found four ounces
of methamphetamine, which Mr. Dickerson admitted was his.
Dickerson subsequently tried to hide from Mr. Watts the fact
that police had seized his methamphetamine, texting Mr.
Watts, “They stole my colt python and the 4 i had im
sorry but ill get you even if i have to sale my bike.”
(See Id. at 8.)
government agents arrested and charged Mr. Dickerson for a
series of crimes associated with the trafficking of
methamphetamine in New Mexico, including conspiracy to
possess with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of
methamphetamine. (See Id. at 10.)
Dickerson appeared before Magistrate Judge Fouratt in Las
Cruces, New Mexico, for a detention hearing. (See
Doc. 106 at 1.) At the detention hearing, the government told
Judge Fouratt that there was no evidence that Mr.
Dickerson possessed any firearms during the course of
the government's investigation into the DTO,
(see Doc. 144 at 3 (emphasis added)), even though
Mr. Dickerson had allegedly texted an associate, “They
stole my colt python . . . ” (Doc. 148 at 8
(emphasis added)). The government also told Judge Fouratt
that there was no evidence that Mr. Dickerson made any
threats against any person during the course of the
government's investigation into the DTO, (see
Doc. 144 at 3 (emphasis added)), even though Mr. Dickerson
had allegedly texted an associate, “ok bro if something
happens kill the motherfuckers” (Doc. 148 at 6
the government's shocking failure to correctly inform
Judge Fouratt of the danger to the community Mr. Dickerson
posed, Judge Fouratt still ordered that Mr. Dickerson be
detained pending trial. (Doc. 120 at 2.) At the time of the
detention hearing, there was no suitable third-party
custodian who could watch over Mr. Dickerson if he were
released, and Judge Fouratt determined that no conditions of
release could reasonably ensure that Mr. Dickerson would
appear in court and that Mr. Dickerson would not threaten the
community. (See Doc. 144 at 7.)
Judge Fouratt's ruling, Mr. Dickerson's father was
identified as a potential third-party custodian. Based on
this new information, Mr. Dickerson asked Judge Fouratt to
reconsider his ruling, and Judge Fouratt agreed that the
previously unknown information about Mr. Dickerson's
father warranted reconsideration of Mr. Dickerson's
detention. (See id.)
reconsidering Mr. Dickerson's detention, Judge Fouratt
noted some red flags that suggested Mr. Dickerson would flee
or be a danger to the community: among other things, Mr.
Dickerson had multiple brushes with law enforcement in the
past; he did not appear as required for state court
proceedings on multiple occasions; and he ...