United States v. Boustani, No. 19-1018 (2d Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Defendant appealed the district court's March 28, 2019 order denying defendant's second bail application and directing that he be detained pending trial. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's May 16, 2019 order, and wrote to explain that decision and to clarify the circumstances under which the Bail Reform Act permits a district court to release a defendant pending trial pursuant to a condition that the defendant pays for private armed security guards.
The court expressly held that the Bail Reform Act does not permit a two‐tiered bail system in which defendants of lesser means are detained pending trial while wealthy defendants are released to self‐funded private jails. To interpret the Bail Reform Act as requiring district courts to permit wealthy defendants to employ privately funded armed guards where an otherwise similarly situated defendant without means would be detained would violate a fundamental principle of fairness. That said, a private-security condition may be appropriate where defendant was deemed to be a flight risk primarily because of his wealth.
In the instant appeal, defendant argued that the district court erred in finding that no conditions or combination of conditions would reasonably assure his appearance in court. The court held that the district court's finding that defendant posed a risk of flight, as well as the Government's satisfaction of its burden of showing that no conditions or combination of conditions could reasonably assure his appearance in court, was not clearly erroneous.