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Chapter 2:
Release & Detention


How to See How Judges Rule on Pre or Post Conviction Release


EXAMPLE: EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA

Navigate to the district’s Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system: ecf.vaed.uscourts.gov.

Login Page for Eastern District of Virginia Pacer

Click on the “Eastern District of Virginia – – Document Filing System” Link.

Eastern District of Virginia PACER Login Page

Log into PACER using your credentials. Accept the Redaction Responsibility notice.

Using the menu at the top of the page, navigate to Reports → Criminal Reports → Criminal Cases

Arrive at the following landing page:

EDVA Criminal Cases Report Landing Page.

Make the following adjustments:

    1. Select the office you wish to investigate (for example, Alexandria).
    2. Select the citation you wish to investigate (for example, 18:2252A.F).
    3. Next to “Count Status,” check the boxes next to “Pending” and “Disposed.”
    4. Next to “Filed,” select the date range you are interested in (for example, the past five years).
    5. Check the boxes next to “Pending defendants” and “Terminated defendants.”

Select Run Report.”

Determine which information would be most useful for your case. This could include all of the Court’s conditions of release orders for the relevant statute in the last five years, the Court’s last few conditions of release orders for the relevant statute, or a specific Judge’s conditions of release orders for the relevant statute. For this example, we will look at a case presided over by Judge Ellis.

List of EDVA criminal cases with "Presider: T.S. Ellis, III" highlighted.

Select the Case Number you are interested in (for example, 1:18-cr-00360-TSE).

Select “Run Report.”

EDVA Criminal Docket for Wilson case.

Scroll down and locate the Magistrate Judge’s order setting conditions of release. In this case, we will look at the conditions of release pre-conviction. In this case, it is #14.

Docket for US v. Wilson with "Order" highlighted.

Select “View Document.”

PACER Transaction Receipt for Wilson Order

US v. Wilson Order setting conditions of release

Scroll down to locate the “Additional Conditions of Release” section of the judgment.

Conditions of release for US v. Wilson, page 1

Additional conditions of release for US v. Wilson, page 2.

In this case the defendant was placed in custody of his parents, is required to report to pretrial services on a regular basis, cannot leave the D.C. area without prior approval, must submit to mental health testing and/or treatment, cannot possess a firearm/destructive device/other weapon, must reside with only a third party in his residence with one parent at a time, must refrain from having contact with minors, cannot access a computer and the internet without a computer monitoring program, cannot use any device that would enable contact with others, and must submit to sex offender evaluation and/or treatment.

If applicable, locate any orders modifying the conditions of release.

Docket for US v. Wilson with "17. ORDER granting Motion to Modify Conditions of Release" Highlighted.

 Order granting modification of conditions of release in US v. Wilson

In this case, the defendant was required to submit to electronic location monitoring and home detention.

You can also find cases in which pre-conviction release was not granted, and a defendant was detained.

The case US v. Choi is highlighted.

In this case, the defendant was originally detained pre-conviction.

Docket for US v. Choi with "13. Order of Detention" highlighted.

US v. Choi: Order of Detention Pending Trial, page 1

US v. Choi: Order of Detention Pending Trial, page 2

US v. Choi: Order of Detention Pending Trial, page 3

In this case, the defendant did not introduce sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant and the safety of the community.

The defense filed a motion for reconsideration of the detention order. The motion presents reasons for the defendant’s release.

Docket for US v. Choi with "15. Motion for Reconsideration re Order of Detention" highlighted.

US v. Choi: Defendant's motion to reconsider bond considerations.

Page 2 of US v. Choi: Defendant's motion to reconsider bond conditions.

Because there is an order setting the conditions of release, the reasons set forth in the motion for reconsideration were sufficient to rebut the presumption.

Docket for US v. Choi with "23 Order Setting Conditions of Release" highlighted.

Order Setting Conditions of Release for US v. Choi.

Order Setting Conditions of Release for US v. Choi, page 2

Order setting conditions of release for US v. Choi, page 3

The defendant was placed on bond with the above conditions.

By looking through relevant cases in your district, you can see the aspects of cases that tend to lead to both detention and release, and structure your arguments for release from there.

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