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United States v. Robinson

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Orangeburg Division

December 23, 2014

United States of America
Joel Perrin Robinson.


J. MICHELLE CHILDS, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on Defendant Joel Perrin Robinson's ("Defendant") Motion for Review and Appeal of Detention Order (ECF No. 40), requesting review of the detention order entered by United States Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett on October 28, 2014 (ECF No. 18). The court granted Defendant's Motion for Review and heard argument and received evidence from Defendant and the United States of America (the "Government") at a hearing on December 18, 2014. (See ECF Nos. 79, 80.) Upon de novo review of all the evidence and upon consideration of the parties' arguments, the court DENIES Defendant's appeal of the order of detention issued by Magistrate Judge Gossett.

In support of this conclusion, the court makes the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law:


1. The Government presented testimony from Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") Special Agent Frank Hidalgo ("Hidalgo") regarding its investigation of Defendant. Hidalgo testified that DEA became aware of Defendant pursuant to information provided by Adrian Banks ("Banks"), an individual who was discovered after he was injured in a fire that occurred at a house being used as a site for manufacturing phencyclidine ("PCP").

2. Based on information provided by Banks, DEA procured a search warrant for the home and property where Defendant lived in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Specifically, on October 19, 2014, Magistrate Judge Gossett approved a search warrant to search Defendant's home at 131 Snapover Lane, Orangeburg, South Carolina for evidence of drug trafficking. (ECF No. 1-1 at 3 ¶ 6 (referencing ECF No. 1-2).)

3. Hidalgo testified that Banks warned DEA that extreme caution should be used with Defendant because he always carried a gun. As a result, Hidalgo testified that DEA chose not to approach Defendant in a public place, but determined that the best option to serve the search warrant was at Defendant's residence because it was isolated and there was not any danger to the general public.

4. DEA chose the early morning of October 20, 2014, to execute the search warrant at Defendant's home. (ECF No. 1-1 at 4 ¶ 7.) Hidalgo testified that in the approach to the house, DEA loudly knocked down a wrought iron gate with a heavy duty sports utility vehicle and pacified several dogs with a fire extinguisher. Hidalgo further testified that once agents were in place, a signal was given and agents proceeded to breach the front door and break the glass of a window near Defendant's bedroom. While this was ongoing, agents attempted to announce their presence, as they are required to do, by yelling "police, " "DEA, " or "search warrant" and by turning on the sirens and flashing lights of their vehicles. Agents also were wearing police gear with "Police" or "DEA" on it, which was easily visible because the lighting conditions were not that bad according to Hidalgo.

5. Hidalgo testified that the breach of the front door set off the home's burglar alarm. Soon thereafter, Hidalgo testified that he heard gunshots and he learned that DEA Special Agent Barry Wilson had suffered a gunshot wound. Hidalgo testified that after Wilson was shot, agents in the immediate area again announced themselves as police, which resulted in Defendant dropping his gun and surrendering. Defendant was then arrested and taken into custody. (ECF No. 3.)

6. In response to the numerous shots fired by Defendant, DEA agents did not return fire. (E.g., ECF No. 1-1 at 4 ¶¶ 8-9.)

7. Hidalgo testified that upon search of the home and surrounding premises, DEA discovered numerous guns, ammunition, a bulletproof vest, cleaning fluid, cash, a small amount of marijuana, and a packing slip for five metal drums of Piperidine.

8. On October 27, 2014, Magistrate Judge Gossett conducted a detention hearing wherein she determined on October 28, 2014, that (1) there was probable cause to believe that Defendant committed "an offense under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), " and (2) Defendant did not rebut the presumption that no condition will reasonably assure his appearance and the safety of the community. (ECF Nos. 17, 18.) At the time of the October 27, 2014 detention hearing, Defendant only had pending against him charges in a Criminal Complaint for (1) assault on a federal law enforcement officer in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111 and (2) using or carrying a firearm during a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). (See ECF No. 1.)

9. On November 11, 2014, Defendant filed his Motion for Review and Appeal of Detention Order. (ECF No. 40.)

10. On November 20, 2014, the Grand Jury named Defendant as the sole individual in a four-count Indictment. (See ECF No. 45.) "Count One" charges Defendant with conspiracy to (1) knowingly and intentionally manufacture and possess with intent to distribute at least one kilogram of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of PCP, (2) knowingly and intentionally possess 1-Piperidinocyclohexanecarbonitrile ("PCC"), a controlled substance, with intent to manufacture PCP, and (3) knowingly and intentionally possess Piperidine, a chemical, and having reasonable cause to believe the chemical would be used to manufacture PCP in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 841(c)(2). (Id. at 2-3.) "Count Two" charges Defendant with maintaining drug involved premises in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 856(a)(2), 856(b)-(e) and 18 U.S.C. § 2. (Id. at 6.) "Count Three" charges Defendant with assaulting individuals executing a search warrant using a deadly and dangerous weapon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2231(a)-(b). (Id. at 7.) "Count Four" charges Defendant with possession of a firearm in furtherance, and use of a firearm during and in relation to, a drug trafficking crime and crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i)-(iii). (Id. at 7-8.)

11. Defendant is thirty-two years old and was born, raised, and continues to reside in Orangeburg County, ...

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