Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Castanon-Perez

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

April 17, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JASSIEL CASTANON-PEREZ, Defendant.

          James D. Tierney Acting United States Attorney Jennifer M. Rozzoni Shaheen P. Torgoley Assistant United States Attorneys United States Attorney's Office Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for the Plaintiff.

          Susan M. Porter Albuquerque New Mexico Attorney for the Defendant.

          UNSEALED [1] MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the United States' Appeal of Magistrate Judge's Release Order, filed August 28, 2017 (Doc. 130)(“Appeal”). The Court held a hearing on August 31, 2017. The primary issue is whether Defendant Jassiel Castanon-Perez is a flight risk. The Court concludes that, in light of her limited ties to the United States, and the serious charges she faces, Castanon-Perez is a flight risk. The Court grants the Appeal and vacates the release order.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         In January, 2015, Castanon-Perez and Lourdes Romero-Castanon drove from Chihuahua, Mexico, into the United States of America to Albuquerque, New Mexico, with over nine-hundred grams of methamphetamine hidden in the vehicle's oil pan. See Plea Agreement ¶ 10, at 4, filed September 27, 2017 (Doc. 161). In Albuquerque, they met with undercover DEA agents at a storage unit, where the undercover agents removed the methamphetamine from the oil pan and paid Romero-Castanon $1, 500.00. See Plea Agreement ¶ 11, at 4; Appeal at 2-7. Castanon-Perez concealed the $1, 500.00 in her purse when she and Romero-Castanon later crossed the border into Mexico. See Plea Agreement ¶ 12, at 4.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Castanon-Perez was arrested on February 27, 2017. See Appeal at 3. In August, 2017, Castanon-Perez asked the Court to release her from custody. See Defendant Jassiel Castanon-Perez's Motion to Review Detention and Set Conditions of Release at 1, filed August 7, 2017 (Doc. 110). At a hearing on August 25, 2017, the Honorable Karen B. Molzen, United States Magistrate Judge, granted Castanon-Perez' request, but stayed the ruling until close of business on August 28, 2017, to allow the United States to appeal the decision to the Court. See Appeal at 4; Clerk's Minutes (dated August 25, 2017), filed August 25, 2017 (Doc. 124).[2]

         1. The Appeal.

         In the Appeal, the United States argues that, when there is probable cause to believe that a defendant committed a drug-related crime for which the maximum imprisonment term is ten years or more, there is a presumption that no combination of release conditions can reasonably assure the defendant's future appearance in court. See Appeal at 4 (citing 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e)). According to the United States, the § 3142(e) presumption applies to Castanon-Perez, because the Indictment shows that there is probable cause that Castanon-Perez committed a drug offense for which the maximum imprisonment term is 10 years or more.[3] See Appeal at 5. The United States argues that Castanon-Perez has not overcome this presumption by stating that she has traveled to the United States in the past, and has a child and an aunt who are United States citizens. The United States identifies several factors indicating that Castanon-Perez is a fight risk:

Castanon is not a U.S. Citizen and does not have permission to remain in the United States. Castanon does not live in the United States; does not own a home here; does not work here; does not possess any domestically-issued identification that would demonstrate ties to the community; and has no traceable assets that the Court could restrain in order to assure her appearance. Castanon is a citizen of Mexico with easy access to that nation. Her presence in the United States is as fleeting as that of any tourist, with one exception: she faces a prison term of ten years to life if convicted on the present charges, and her trial is only weeks away.

         Appeal at 6. The United States also contends that there is an “immigration hold” on Castanon-Perez such that she is subject to be processed for removal without appearing before an immigration judge. Appeal at 5-7.

         2. The Hearing.

         The Court held a hearing on August 31, 2017. See Draft Transcript, taken August 31, 2017 (“Tr.”).[4] The United States stated that it believed that Castanon-Perez is a flight risk and not a danger to the community. See Tr. at 5:8-15 (Court, Torgoley). The United States argued that Castanon-Perez is a flight risk, because she was born and raised in Mexico and has little connection to the United States. See Tr. at 6:11-23 (Torgoley). The United States asserted that, given the charges alleged against Castanon-Perez, she must overcome a presumption that there is no combination of release conditions sufficient to ensure that she will not flee. See Tr. at 6:24-7:9 (Torgoley). The United States contended that it would introduce evidence at trial that will show that Castanon-Perez took an active and knowing role in bringing nine-hundred grams of methamphetamine over the border from Mexico. See Tr. at 7:11-10:3 (Torgoley).

         Castanon-Perez then argued that she is not a flight risk, because she expects to be acquitted at trial and hopes to have an opportunity to continue to visit the United States in the future. See Tr. at 12:2-13 (Porter). Castanon-Perez asserted that she returned to the United States several times between the date of the incident for which she is indicted and the date of her arrest, which, according to Castanon-Perez, shows a “lack of consciousness of guilt.” Tr. at 12:15-20 (Porter). Castanon-Perez then argued that the evidence shows that she was not a part of the drug transaction's planning or execution. See Tr. at 14:12-20 (Porter). She also asserted that she has many meaningful ties to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.