United States District Court, D. New Jersey
the Court is Defendant Rickie Horvath's motion for bail
pending appeal pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3143(b)(1), 18
U.S.C. § 3145(c), and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure
38(b). (D.E. No. 373 (“Motion”)). The Government
opposes Mr. Horvath's Motion. (August 31, 2017 Letter
Brief in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion
(“Opp.”)). The Court declined to hold oral
argument pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78(b).
See L. Civ. R. 78.1(b); L. Crim. R. 1.1. For the
reasons discussed below, Mr. Horvath's Motion is DENIED.
Horvath is a 56-year-old man suffering from multiple health
impairments, including a severe heart condition. (Motion at
1-2). On May 25, 2016, Mr. Horvath pleaded guilty to
conspiring and agreeing with others to distribute oxycodone,
contrary to 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and
841(b)(1)(C), in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846. (D.E. No.
305 (“Plea Agreement”)). At the time of his plea
agreement, Mr. Horvath was imprisoned as a state prisoner in
connection with theft and insurance-fraud charges unrelated
to the federal matter. Mr. Horvath was released from state prison
on July 8, 2016, and immediately transferred into federal
March 16, 2017, Mr. Horvath requested release from federal
prison due to his deteriorating health condition. (D.E. No.
343). On March 24, 2017, the Court granted Mr. Horvath's
request and released him on bail conditioned on home
confinement, among other restrictions. (D.E. No. 346).
months later, on July 24, 2017, the Court sentenced Mr.
Horvath. (D.E. No. 363). In doing so, the Court adopted Mr.
Horvath's Presentence Report (“PSR”) without
changes. Accordingly, Mr. Horvath had a total offense level
of 21 and a criminal history category of III. Based on these
calculations, Mr. Horvath faced an advisory guidelines
sentencing range of 46 to 57 months' imprisonment.
sentencing hearing, Mr. Horvath moved for a downward
departure due to his medical condition and his prior
confinement in Union County Jail. Specifically, he
“argued for a sentence of supervised release
conditioned on community service, drug and mental health
treatment with credit for all time served in custody since
the issuance of the federal detainer against him on or about
September 18, 2015, until his release on March 24,
2017.” (Motion at 3). The Court granted a downward
variance and sentenced Mr. Horvath to 41 months'
imprisonment. In effect, the Court treated Mr. Horvath as if
he had a criminal history category II-which essentially
negated Mr. Horvath's Union County conviction for
sentencing purposes-and thus faced an advisory guidelines
sentencing range of 41 to 51 months' imprisonment. The
Court analyzed the factors under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) on
the record at length. In all, the sentencing hearing lasted
two and a half hours. (D.E. No. 363).
August 26, 2017, Mr. Horvath received a notice to surrender
to the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) at Butner Low
FCI in Butner, North Carolina, on September 5, 2017. (D.E.
No. 373-12). On August 28, 2017, Mr. Horvath requested that
this Court stay his surrender for thirty days “to allow
for him to continue to recuperate from his heart surgery and
so that his anticipated application for bail pending appeal
may be argued and considered by the Court.” (Motion at
4-5). Mr. Horvath filed the present Motion on August 30,
2017. The next day, the Government opposed the Motion, and
the Court granted Mr. Horvath's request to stay his
surrender for thirty days. Mr. Horvath's Motion is ripe
enacted the Bail Reform Act of 1984 to create a presumption
in favor of post-conviction detention. United States v.
Miller, 753 F.2d 19, 22-24 (3d Cir. 1985); 18 U.S.C.
§ 3143(b). Under this statute, a defendant must
(1) that [he or she] is not likely to flee or pose a danger
to the safety of any other person or the community if
released; (2) that the appeal is not for purpose of delay;
(3) that the appeal raises a substantial question of law or
fact; and (4) that if that substantial question is determined
favorably to the defendant on appeal, that decision is likely
to result in reversal or an order for a new trial of all
counts on which imprisonment has been imposed.
Miller, 753 F.2d at 24. In addition, a defendant
convicted of an offense within the Controlled Substances Act
punishable by more than 10 years must “clearly show
that there are exceptional reasons why such person's
detention would not be appropriate.” 18 U.S.C. §
3145(c); see also United States v. Epstein, No.
14-0287, 2016 WL 1435717, at *1-2 (D.N.J. Apr. 12, 2016)
(discussing the meaning of “exceptional reasons”
under § 3145(c)).
here, under the third prong's substantial-question
analysis, “a court must determine that the question
raised on appeal is a ‘substantial' one, i.e., it
must find that the significant question at issue is one which
is either novel, which has not been decided by controlling
precedent, or which is fairly doubtful.”
Miller, 753 F.2d at 23. To that end, a defendant
“must demonstrate that the issues are debatable among
jurists of reason; that a court could resolve the
issues [in a different manner]; or that the questions are
adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further.”
United States v. Smith, 793 F.2d 86, 89 (3d Cir.
1986). This analysis does not, however, “involve a