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United States v. Melendez-Carrion

decided: June 2, 1987.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE,
v.
YVONNE MELENDEZ-CARRION, HILTON FERNANDEZ-DIAMANTE, LUIS ALFREDO COLON OSORIO, FILBERTO INOCENCIO OJEDA RIOS, ISAAC CAMACHO-NEGRON, ORLANDO GONZALES CLAUDIO, ELIAS SAMUEL CASTRO-RAMOS AND JUAN ENRIQUE SEGARRA PALMER, DEFENDANTS, FILBERTO INOCENCIO OJEDA RIOS AND JUAN ENRIQUE SEGARRA PALMER, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS



Appeal from orders of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Clarie, J.), continuing detention of appellants pending trial. The district court found nineteen-month pretrial detention of appellants because of risk of flight not violative of due process standard enunicated in United States v. Gonzales Claudio, 806 F.2d 334 (2d Cir. 1986). Affirmed.

Author: Miner

MINER, Circuit Judge

Defendants-appellants Filiberto Inocencio Ojeda Rios and Juan Enrique Segarra Palmer appeal from orders of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Claire, J.), denying their motions for conditional release. Judge Clarie determined that, under the standard enunicated in United States v. Gonzales Claudio, 806 F.2d 334 (2d Cir. 1986), appellants' due process rights were not violated by their continued detention pending trial. Both appellants have been detained for more than nineteen months to date.

On appeal, appellants contend that their continued pretrial detention constitutes a per se due process violation. In addition, they maintain that the district court misapplied the Gonzales Claudio standard and that the evidence before the district court was insufficient to support a finding that they presented risks of flight. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

The general background of the instant appeal is set forth in United States v. Melendez-Carrion, 790 F.2d 984 (2d Cir.), cert. dismissed, 479 U.S. 978, 107 S. Ct. 562, 93 L. Ed. 2d 568 (1986), familiarity with which is assumed. Only those facts necessary for a discussion of the issues presented on this appeal will be set forth below.

On August 28, 1985, a Hartford grand jury returned an indictment against appellants and fifteen others, charging them with offenses committed in connection with the September 12, 1983 robbery of $7.6 million from the Wells Fargo depot in West Hartford, Connecticut. A superseding indictment was returned by a New Haven grand jury on March 21, 1986, which charged sixteen of the original seventeen defendants with the same and additional violations of federal criminal statutes, and added three new defendants.

Responsibility for the Wells Fargo robbery has been claimed by Los Macheteros (the machete wielders), a paramilitary terrorist group that is dedicated to achieving independence for Puerto Rico. Since 1978, Los Macheteros has claimed responsibility for numerous other violent acts, including murder, robbery, destruction of property, theft of explosive and kidnapping. There is evidence that Ojeda Rios and Segarra Palmer are leaders of Los Macheteros, and that they participated in the conspiracy surrounding the robbery, as well as the robbery itself.

Both appellants were arrested on August 30, 1985: Ojeda Rios in Puerto Rico and Segarra Palmer in Dallas, Texas. After removal to Connecticut and bail hearings before Magistrate F. Owen Eagan, Judge Clarie continued the detention, which he previously had ordered. of Ojeda Rios, Segarra Palmer and seven co-defendants on risk of flight and/or dangerousness grounds, pursuant to the Bail Reform Act of 1984, 18 U.S.C. ยง 3142(e) (Supp. III 1985).

The district court made numerous findings of fact in support of its decision to continue pretrial detention. As to Ojeda Rios, the district court determined that he was the head of military operations for Los Macheteros, as well as past member of its Cental and Directive Committees, and was known by the code name "Luis" and "Greco." Judge Clarie found that Ojeda Rios had traveled extensively in the United States in foreign countries using aliases, and had obtained passports and drivers licenses in various false names. he further found hat Ojeda Rios had been identified as playing a central role in "La Gaviota," which was a Macheteros code name for the attack on Muniz Air Base, in Puerto Rico, on January 12, 1981. During that attack, nine A-7 aircraft were destroyed at a cost of$40 million. Ojeda Rios also was identified as having participated in the light anti-tank rocket attack on the federal courthouse in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, on October 30, 1983, and as having helped plan "El Chivo," a Macheteros plan to free and then assassinate an incarcerated former Macheteros member suspected of being an informant.

As to Segarra Palmer, the district court found that he was a long-time salaried member of Los Macheteros, and operate two businesses as fronts for the organization. The court determined that Segarra Palmer served on the Central and Directive Committees of Los Macheteros, was a leader of Zone One, was known by the code name "Junior," used alias and false addresses extensively, and possessed drivers licenses and a passport in a false name. Judge Clarie found that the automobile Segarra Palmer used was registered under an alias and at a false address, and that he had traveled extensively to Mexico, without the apparent meant to do so. The district judge also found that Segarra Palmer had organized and taken part in the attack at Sabina Seca on a United States Navy bus taking sailors to a radar stations, on December 3, 1979, in which two sailors were killed and nine wounded. Judge Clarie further found that Segarra Palmer has taken part in "La Gaviota," which is described above.

Appellants' and six co-defendants' appeals from the district court's orders were consolidated in United States v. Melendez-Carrion, 790 F.2d 984 (2d Cir. 1986). Luz Maria Berrios-Berrios, Segarra Palmer's wife, appealed separately, United States v. Berrios-Berrios, 791 F.2d 246, 253 (2d Cir.) (remand to reconsider whether, despite risk of flight, viable alternatives existed to continued pretrial detention of Berrios-Berrios), cert. dismissed, 107 S. Ct. 563 (1986).

In Melendez-Carrion, although we held that pretrial detention on dangerousness grounds lasting more than eight months was unconstitutional, we affirmed the lawful detention of six of the defendants, including Segarra Palmer and Ojeda Rios, on risk of flight grounds. We remand the detention orders regarding defendants Isaac Camacho-Negron and Orlando Gonzales Claudio, who were detained solely on ground of dangerousness, to consider whether their continued detention was justified on risk of flight grounds. Melendez-Carrion, 790 F.2d at 1004-05. The provision of section 3142(e) authorizing preventive detention on grounds of danger to the community subsequently was found unconstitutional on its fact by the panel majority in United States v. Salerno, 794 F.2d 64 (2d Cir. 1986), rev'd 55 U.S.S.R. 4663 (May 26, 1987).

On remand, Judge Clarie determined that the detention of both Gonzales Claudio and Camacho-Negron should be continued on risk of flight grounds. Those two defendants appealed the district court's order. In United States v. Gonzales Claudio, 806 F.2d 334 (2d Cir. 1986), we enunicated the standard of review for considering the constitutional issue of whether continued detention on risk of flight grounds violates due process limitations. Based on that standard and on the particular circumstances presented on appeal, we vacated the district ...


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