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Case 1:08-cr-20612-PAS

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA CASE NO. 08-20612-CR-SEITZ/O’SULLIVAN

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vs. HASSAN SAIED KESHARI ________________________________/ MOTION TO REVOKE PRE-TRIAL DETENTION ORDER AND, ALTERNATIVELY, APPEAL OF ORDER DENYING MOTION TO RE-OPEN PRE-TRIAL DETENTION HEARING Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3145,1 Hassan Saied Keshari moves to revoke the magistrate judge’s Detention Order [D.E. 15], entered on June 26, 2008. In the alternative, Mr. Keshari appeals the Order Denying Keshari’s Motion to Re-open the Pre-trial Detention Hearing [D.E. 39], entered July 22, 2008, and requests that the District Court direct the magistrate judge to re-open the pre-trial detention hearing pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f). In support of this relief, Mr. Keshari states: Course of Proceedings On June 19, 2008, the United States brought a criminal complaint alleging that there was probable cause to believe that Mr. Keshari was involved in a scheme to export aircraft parts to Iran in violation of the Iranian embargo and the Arms Control Export Act. The following day, agents 1

This statute provides: If a person is ordered detained by a magistrate judge, or by a person other than a judge of a court having original jurisdiction over the offense and other than a Federal appellate court, the person may file, with the court having original jurisdiction over the offense, a motion for revocation or amendment of the order. The motion shall be determined promptly.


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arrested Mr. Keshari at Miami International Airport as he alighted from a transcontinental flight with his family. The Keshari’s were in Miami for a family vacation. Following the midnight arrest, which traumatized Mr. Keshari’s two young daughters,2 the agents interrogated Mr. Keshari for three and a half hours. The government searched Mr. Keshari’s warehouse and found that it contained commercial and civil aircraft parts. None of the parts found at the warehouse were military parts. The government also seized records of the business which are evidence of the legitimate transactions involving commercial and civil aircraft parts in which Mr. Keshari has engaged over his 14 years in business. On June 26, 2008, before an indictment had been brought against Mr. Keshari, the magistrate judge conducted a pretrial detention hearing. The government made certain claims at the June detention hearing that later proved to have been significantly overstated. Without specifically identifying the items that Mr. Keshari was alleged to have exported, the government claimed that “[a]ll of the items have been confirmed as being listed on a United States Munitions List.” Transcript at 4. The indictment, as discussed below, would not reflect this.3 The government also claimed that Mr. Keshari had made “3 trips to Iran in the last two years” and “admitted during his post arrest interview at least two of the trips to Iran in the last 6 months.” Transcript at 7. In fact, Mr. Keshari

2

Mr. Keshari’s 12-year-old cries in her sleep and his 4-year-old has night terrors and has asked why her father is in a “dungeon” and whether he is dead. 3

The government argued in opposition to the Motion to Re-open the Pre-trial Detention Hearing that it may supersede the indictment. However, a detention order can be based only on “the nature and circumstances of the offense charged.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g)(1) (emphasis added). 2


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had made only four trips to Iran in all 32 years of living in the United States and only two of those trips took place during the last two years. The government attempted to establish Mr. Keshari’s mens rea by implying that he had no legitimate income. It represented that “[a]s far as the investigation has deciphered so far, there is no indication of legitimate business going on” at Mr. Keshari’s business. Transcript at 5. Only minutes later, the government retreated from this claim because it is clear that Mr. Keshari has engaged in substantial legitimate business. Transcript at 6 (“As far as we know there is also commercial and civilian aircraft parts dealings that he has done, but as far as the export, and obviously the exports that the agents are looking at, the military aircraft parts are all getting exported.”). Nonetheless, the government maintained and the magistrate judge accepted that Mr. Keshari would be unable to support himself even if here were ultimately acquitted of all charges, suggesting he would have no choice but to leave the country. Transcript at 8 (“[O]nce his business is shut down, because he is going to have a lot of trouble getting back into this business again, our point is there is nothing left for him here.”). This claim is refuted by Mr. Keshari’s extensive history of employment in the United States as an engineer as well as by common sense. It is obviously easier for an American citizen to support himself here than in a country he last lived in three decades ago. Another principal government claim was that e-mail correspondence “documented” that all the charged transactions involved parts for military aircraft. Transcript at 4 (“All of the sales that are in the complaint are documented by e-mail.”). The e-mails, once reviewed by defense counsel, turned out to be far less unequivocal than the government suggested. Also, some of them, as the government belatedly conceded in its memorandum opposing re-opening the detention hearing, are clearly

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exculpatory. Government’s Opposition to Motion to Re-open Pre-trial Detention Hearing [D.E. 37] at 8. The government also resorted to pure speculation, arguing that Mr. Keshari must have known the parts involved were military aircraft parts because he had been in the aircraft parts business for “7 years, but possibly longer than that.” Transcript at 4 (“[The defendants] are very familiar with these parts, and they are very familiar with the fact that these are military parts.”). Obviously, such an argument would not even get the prosecution past a Rule 29 motion. That is especially true given that the government claims Mr. Keshari was a broker who worked via e-mail and has given no reason to believe that Mr. Keshari ever laid eyes on any of the shipments alleged in the indictment. The government further claimed that Mr. Keshari confessed, but no agent testified in support of this contention. In fact, the statement has now been provided to the defense and contrary to the government allegations, it exculpates Mr. Keshari. Finally, the government claimed that Mr. Keshari’s sentencing exposure was between five and twenty years. As the government would later concede, Mr. Keshari likely faces at most five years in prison. See Government’s Opposition to Motion to Re-open Pre-trial Detention Hearing [D.E. 37] at 9. Acknowledging that no presumption of flight arises in this case,4 the magistrate judge determined that Mr. Keshari presented such a risk of flight that no conditions would reasonably assure his appearance. The magistrate judge reached this conclusion only because he accepted the exaggerated government claims and speculation: The defendant maintains a United States passport and an Iranian passport. He was born in Iran. He is a United States citizen, but he has very close ties and family in Iran. 4

See 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e) & (f)(1). 4


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He travels there on a consistent basis and, in fact, has been there twice in the last 6 months. The goods that he was providing to Iran and the Iranians, which may also be used in Iranian defense equipment, gives Iranian nationals, as well as perhaps the Iranian Government a reason to support him should he go to Iran. He has got very close ties there, business associates and family associates there. He was actually dealing in these aviation parts with cousins of his wife who resided in Iran. He has agreed to shut down his business, and the government argues that his business would no longer be viable after his arrest in this matter, assuming that he is convicted. And although he does have substantial assets here, he does have friends who are willing to post four and a half million dollars in property, I find that that is not sufficient to assure the court he will appear at future proceedings due to the nature of the offense, the substantial prison sentence that he is facing and the likelihood that he would flee to Iran where he has close ties. Transcript at 18. Notably, the magistrate judge’s assumption that the Iranian government might have reason to support Mr. Keshari should he abscond did not make its way into the written Detention Order. See Detention Order [D.E. 15] at 2 ¶¶ 3–4. In fact, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that would happen.5 There is no evidence that Mr. Keshari has ever had any contact with the Iranian government. After entry of the detention order, Mr. Keshari was charged by indictment with a multi-object conspiracy, seven counts of violating executive orders establishing an embargo against Iran, and two counts of violating the Arms Export Control Act. Indictment [D.E. 25] (July 3, 2006). These last two counts are predicated on shipments also charged as violations of the Iran embargo. At bottom, the acts forming the basis of all of these charges total seven shipments of parts, none of which is a

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The government’s own theory of the case, which the indictment now makes clear, is that Mr. Keshari was a broker or middleman between individuals wanting to purchase aircraft parts in Iran and sellers of such parts in the United States. The government vaguely claimed at the detention hearing that Mr. Keshari’s operation was large-scale. However, the indictment belies any such suggestion in that it charges only seven shipments over a 19-month period. 5


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weapon. Rather, the parts that were allegedly exported are common aircraft parts: fitting assemblies, switching assemblies, harness assemblies, accumulators, diaphragm seals, and gyros. Virtually every airplane, whether military or commercial, requires these parts. On July 14, 2008, Mr. Keshari moved pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3142(f) to re-open the detention hearing in light of the newly filed indictment and of counsel’s opportunity to investigate the government’s overstated claims.6 [D.E. 27] The motion exposed the government’s exaggerated claim at the hearing that all the shipments in question were of military parts and the implication that they were numerous. The motion also argued that the government’s evidence regarding Mr. Keshari’s intent was far weaker than the government had represented. Some of the e-mails that counsel was able to review after the hearing showed that, if Mr. Keshari in fact brokered military aircraft parts, he did so unwittingly. They include such statements from Mr. Keshari as: # “I did not know that it was for f4. personally, i do not wish to do anything with this type of aircraft.” # “[A]s for the part I asked you to buy for us, I did not know it was for military use only. I do not wish to buy anything that has military applications only. Thanks for letting me know.” The e-mails similarly refute the government’s claim that Mr. Keshari knew that the shippers he contacted lacked the requisite licenses. The motion further argued that the government’s claim that Mr. Keshari faced up to 20 years in prison was an exaggeration. As the government later conceded, Mr. Keshari likely faces at most five years in prison. See Government’s Opposition [D.E. 37] at 9. That, of course, assumes that the government proves all that it alleges—a proposition that seems far less likely now than it did at the June hearing—and persuades the Court that a harsh sentence is warranted. Compare United States 6

On July 17, 2008, a corrected version of the motion [D.E. 35] was filed to correct certain scrivener’s errors in the original. 6


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v. Reza Tabib, 8:06-Cr-0025-DOC (sentenced to 24 months for exporting F-14 aircraft and missile parts to Iran; released on $225,000 appearance bond); United States v. Shahrazad Gholikhan, 0560238-Cr-Cohn (case involving exporting night vision goggles to Iran; plea vacated after dispute over whether guidelines range was 0–6 months or 30–37 months; Judge Cohn sentenced defendant to 29 months and then vacated plea and scheduled case for trial). Despite these material revelations, the magistrate judge refused to give Mr. Keshari a chance to be heard regarding the indictment’s allegations and his investigation of the government’s claims. [D.E. 39] The magistrate judge stated in the July 22 order refusing to re-open the hearing that the information was essentially irrelevant: The additional information proffered by the defendant does not have a material bearing on whether the defendant should be detained prior to trial. Much of the information contained in the instant motion was known to the defendant at the time of the pretrial detention hearing before the undersigned. Additionally, the Court does not find merit in the defendant’s claim that the government exaggerated or misrepresented the nature of the case. Order at 2. This motion and appeal of that order followed. Statement of Facts Hassan Saied Keshari emigrated to the United States from Iran at the age of 16 in 1977. After graduating from high school in New Jersey, he studied aeronautical engineering at Arizona State University until 1984. Before starting his own business in 1993, Mr. Keshari held various engineering jobs throughout the country. Thus, even if he did lose his business as a result of this indictment, Mr. Keshari’s engineering skills make him readily employable. During his more than 30 years living in this country, Mr. Keshari developed extensive ties to the United States. His wife, Taromi Shahrzad (Sheri Keshari), and her family have lived in the

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United States since she was an infant. Sheri’s parents, her brother, and her sister all reside in Marin County, California. The Keshari’s married in 1994. They have two children, Sahba Keshari, who is 12 years old, and Sasha Keshari, who is 4 years old. Both children are natural-born United States citizens, having been born in Northern California. The family lives in Novato, California, which is in Marin County just north of San Francisco. Sahba will begin seventh grade in the fall at San Jose Middle School, the local public school. The family belongs to the local YMCA where Sahba attends weekly swim class. Neither of the Keshari’s daughters speak Farsi (nor does Ms. Keshari). Around 1999, Sheri Keshari fell gravely ill. After several months, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that results in widespread pain in muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It also causes chronic fatigue. The intensity of symptoms varies over time. As a result, Mrs. Keshari at times is bedridden with pain, and Mr. Keshari must run the household alone—waking, feeding, and taking the children to school as well as attending to his wife. Because of the illness, Mrs. Keshari cannot work outside the home. While two of Mr. Keshari’s siblings as well as his parents reside in Iran, his sister, Sohelia Keshari, lives in Orange County, California, and is a permanent resident. She is a widow living with her four children. In addition, Mr. Keshari has two aunts and four uncles as well as numerous cousins living in California, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Georgia. During the more than three decades that Mr. Keshari has lived in the United States, he has traveled to Iran only four times. His first trip was in 1998, when he returned to Iran for the first time in 22 years with his wife shortly after their marriage. In 2004, he took his family there for a niece’s wedding. Two years later, he and his sister went together to see their parents. Last year, he and his 8


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family went to visit his wife’s extended family. As there are no direct flights to Iran, each time he goes, Mr. Keshari must stop in Europe.7 The Keshari family has about $350,000 worth of equity in their home and an additional $120,000 in a townhouse purchased as an investment about four miles away. Most of Mr. Keshari’s relatives throughout the United States have American spouses and American-born children. These families are willing to offer their own homes, in many cases the only asset they own, to secure his appearance. Mr. Keshari’s sister’s brother-in-law also offered to use some of the equity in his business to pay a bond. Additionally, the entire family has offered to surrender all passports in their possession. Mr. Keshari has no criminal record. He works as a broker of commercial aircraft parts. The government is in possession of numerous records detailing Mr. Keshari’s many sales of commercial aircraft parts in the United States. He maintains his own inventory at a warehouse, which the government searched and found to contain only commercial and civil aircraft parts. Legal Standards When a motion is made to revoke a pre-trial detention order, the district court must conduct an independent or de novo review of the magistrate judge’s determination that pre-trial detention is

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The government contended and the magistrate judge accepted that, even though the Keshari’s offered to surrender all travel documents, they might somehow obtain Iranian passports and escape to Iran. Transcript at 7 (“[W]e are very concerned about the fact that a new Iranian passport can come for that family to use to get back to Iran . . . .”). First, the family cannot go “back” to Iran because the Keshari family is American and has never lived in Iran. Second, the only relevant concern is whether Mr. Keshari has incentive to flee, not whether he has mere opportunity to flee. Truong Dinh Hung v. United States, 439 U.S. 1326, 1329 (1978) (Brennan, J., in chambers). Third, even if it were not irrelevant, the government has no credible explanation as to how exactly this would occur or how the family would get to an embargoed country to which there are no direct flights. 9


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necessary. See United States v. King, 849 F.2d 485, 489–90 (11th Cir. 1988). The district court should conduct a hearing on the matter if “the district court, after reviewing the detainee’s motion, determines that additional evidence is necessary or that factual issues remain unresolved . . . .” Id. at 490. Undersigned counsel submits that a hearing on the factual disputes set forth above will greatly aid the Court in making its independent, de novo review of the decision to imprison Mr. Keshari pending trial. In accordance with Local Rule 7.1.B.1, a separate request for hearing has been filed together with his motion. An appeal from a magistrate judge’s order denying a motion to re-open the pre-trial detention hearing is reviewed to determine whether it is “clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). Presumably, Congress meant for the magistrate judge’s factual findings to be reviewed for clear error and legal conclusions to be reviewed de novo. Argument I.

The magistrate judge clearly erred in concluding that no conditions of release would reasonably assure Mr. Keshari’s appearance for trial. “In our society liberty is the norm, and detention prior to trial or without trial is the carefully

limited exception.” United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739, 755 (1987). The Bail Reform Act accordingly provides for pre-trial detention only when there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant poses a danger to society or when there is a serious risk that the accused will flee. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e) & (f). The authority to detain an individual like Mr. Keshari who is merely accused of crime and presumed innocent is predicated on a court’s need to maintain the integrity of its

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proceedings by reasonably assuring that the accused will appear. Federal courts are not authorized to incarcerate defendants because there is some speculative possibility that they may flee: From the passage of the Judiciary Act of 1789, . . . federal law has unequivocally provided that a person arrested for a non-capital offense shall be admitted to bail. This traditional right to freedom before conviction permits the unhampered preparation of a defense, and serves to prevent the infliction of punishment prior to conviction. Unless this right to bail before trial is preserved, the presumption of innocence, secured only after centuries of struggle, would lose its meaning. The right to release before trial is conditioned upon the accused’s giving adequate assurance that he will stand trial and submit to sentence if found guilty. Stack v. Boyle, 342 U.S. 1, 4 (1951). In this case, the magistrate judge’s determination that Mr. Keshari presented a serious flight risk was based on the government’s overstatements concerning the nature of the charges and the weight of the evidence as well as Mr. Keshari’s alleged ties to Iran. The magistrate judge accepted the government’s unsupported conjecture that Mr. Keshari would flee to Iran and ignored the far greater incentives he has to remain in the United States and face the charges. A closer look at the fact underlying the detention decision demonstrates, however, that the standard for incarceration pending trial was not met. This is conclusively illustrated by examining a notably similar case decided by then-Judge now-Justice Kennedy when he was on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Like Mr. Keshari, Amir Masoud Motamedi was charged with conspiring “to export items without a license, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act,” to Iran. United States v. Motamedi, 767 F.2d 1403, 1404 (9th Cir. 1985). Like Mr. Keshari, Mr. Motamedi faced a sentence of approximately five years. Id. And, like Mr. Keshari, Mr. Motamedi was ordered detained pending trial on the grounds that he posed a risk of flight. Mr. Motamedi, however, had stronger ties to both the Iranian country and the Iranian government than Mr. Keshari has:

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[T]he magistrate found that Motamedi, an Iranian citizen, was acting as a de facto purchasing agent for the current Iranian government and could return to Iran with impunity; that he maintained large foreign bank accounts with most, if not all, of the deposits being made by the Iranian government; that he persisted in his allegedly illegal exporting activities despite warnings by agents of the United States Customs and Federal Bureau of Investigation that it was illegal to export the items in question; and that the nature and circumstances of the offenses charged are serious. 767 F.2d at 1404. Despite Mr. Motamedi’s strong ties to Iran, Justice Kennedy’s opinion for the Ninth Circuit panel reversed the district court’s pretrial detention order, holding that the government had failed to meet the standard for pre-trial detention. Id. at 1405.8 Mr. Keshari has no property or money in Iran. He has no ties to the Iranian government. He is not an Iranian citizen, but rather has been an American citizen for many years. No government agency gave him any warning before arresting him in front of his traumatized family. Obviously, there is some disparity between Justice Kennedy’s approach and that applied in this case. Justice Kennedy began his analysis of the case by reviewing the “many factors . . . which point toward the conclusion that Motamedi should be released.” Id. at 1407. This is the appropriate first step because release is the norm and detention the rare exception. Salerno, 481 U.S. at 755. These factors were extremely similar to the facts of the instant case with the notable exception that Mr. Keshari is not merely a permanent resident but a United States citizen and has lived in this country without incident or problem for 32 years: 8

Importantly, Justice Kennedy reached this conclusion applying “a deferential, clearly erroneous standard” to the district court’s factual findings. Id. at 1405. His opinion noted that, because of the important constitutional rights at stake, all reviewing courts have a “‘nondelegable responsibility to make an independent determination” of the propriety of detention pending trial. Id. This responsibility requires a reviewing court, including this Court, to “ensure not only that the factual findings support the conclusion reached, but also that the person’s constitutional and statutory rights have been respected.” Id. 12


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Motamedi is a 27-year old Iranian citizen who has been admitted for permanent residence in this country. He has been living in the Los Angeles area since 1976 and has applied for citizenship. He has approximately eighty-five relatives in the Los Angeles area, many of whom are citizens. His immediate family, including his wife, brothers, mother, and father, all reside in the area. His parents have posted their residence as security on the $750,000 bond. He has no prior criminal record, and no history of alcohol or drug abuse. He has not violated any conditions of his release, and has made all court appearances. Id. at 1407–08. Mr. Keshari’s wife has lived all but one year of her life in the United States and his daughters are both native Californians. While he has some relatives including his elderly parents in Iran, he has many younger relatives, including his sister as well as her children, here in the United States. He has no criminal history and is willing to post valuable property, including his family’s home, with the Court to secure his appearance. Justice Kennedy then examined the government’s allegations and evidence and concluded that they did not establish that Mr. Motamedi had a great incentive to flee the jurisdiction. Id. at 1408. As Justice Kennedy cautioned, the weight of the government’s evidence is relevant to the pretrial detention determination only insofar as it provides the accused a serious incentive to flee. Id. at 1408. “Otherwise, if the court impermissibly makes a preliminary determination of guilt, the refusal to grant release could become in substance a matter of punishment.” Id. at 1408. This would violate the clear directive of the Bail Reform Act itself which states, “Nothing in this section shall be construed as modifying or limiting the presumption of innocence.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(j). Justice Brennan likewise emphasized this as being the proper inquiry in Truong Dinh Hung v. United States, 439 U.S. 1326 (1978). Applying the same standard under the predecessor to the current Bail Reform Act, Justice Brennan concluded that the accused, an alien convicted of espionage, was entitled to remain on release pending appeal. This was true despite the fact that he

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“maintained contact with the Vietnamese Ambassador in Paris; that he has not established a permanent residence in this country; and that, should applicant flee to Vietnam, the United States would have no means to procure his return.” Id. at 1328. Justice Brennan reasoned that “if these considerations suggest opportunities for flight, they hardly establish any inclination on the part of applicant to flee.” Id. The magistrate judge did not follow this approach. Rather, the magistrate judge clearly prejudged Mr. Keshari’s guilt because he reasoned that “[t]he goods that he was providing to Iran and the Iranians . . . gives Iranian nationals, as well as perhaps the Iranian Government a reason to support him should he go to Iran.” Transcript at 18. This speculation runs afoul of § 3142(j) because it negates the presumption of innocence. More fundamentally, it is simply unsupported speculation. Subsequent events revealed just how sanguine Justice Kennedy’s determination that Mr. Motamedi must be released on bond was. Mr. Motamedi did not flee. Rather, he duly appeared for trial. As it turned out, the government appeared to have had ulterior motives for wanting him incarcerated. See Philip Shenon, Walsh May Take Over More Iran Arms Cases, N.Y. TIMES, Dec. 31, 1986, at A4 (reporting that Motamedi’s trial in Los Angeles was sealed “to allow discussion of the defendant's relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency.”). Mr. Motamedi ultimately pled guilty at some point during the proceedings and was sentenced to a mere three months in jail. Id. As the Motamedi case illustrates, the ability to detain American citizens on a scant showing of risk of flight is readily abused by a government seeking to advance goals other than the integrity of the judicial process. In Motamedi, it was to cover up the Iran-Contra scandal. Much more often—and likely in this case—it is to get defendants to “flip” and cooperate with the government. Justice Marshall warned of this unconstitutional and dangerous practice in his Salerno dissent: 14


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Respondent Cafaro was originally incarcerated for an indeterminate period at the request of the Government, which believed (or professed to believe) that his release imminently threatened the safety of the community. That threat apparently vanished, from the Government's point of view, when Cafaro agreed to act as a covert agent of the Government. There could be no more eloquent demonstration of the coercive power of authority to imprison upon prediction, or of the dangers which the almost inevitable abuses pose to the cherished liberties of a free society. Salerno, 481 U.S. at 766–67 (Marshall, J., dissenting). It may be readily conceded that the district courts have the authority to detain those who threaten to flee to ensure the integrity of federal court proceedings. “The finding of probable cause conveys power to try, and the power to try imports of necessity the power to assure that the processes of justice will not be evaded or obstructed.” Salerno, 481 U.S. at 765 (Marshall, J., dissenting). However, it falls to the district courts to ensure that this power to ensure that indicted individuals appear at court proceedings is not co-opted by the Executive Branch to advance other goals not authorized by statute. That can only be accomplished by carefully scrutinizing in every case the government’s claim that “no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the person.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(e). The facts of this case, no less than the facts as Justice Kennedy found them in Motamedi, fail to establish that Mr. Keshari’s appearance at court proceedings cannot reasonably be assured by bail.9 9

Bond has been set for defendants in this district facing substantially more time in prison. See United States v. Ali Shaygan ($1.4 million bond for defendant facing 20 year mandatory sentence with substantial ties to Iran); United States v. Giordano, 370 F. Supp.2d 1256 (S.D. Fla. 2005) ($500,000 personal surety bond and $500,000 corporate surety bond where defendant faced up to 85 years); United States v. Valdes, No. 04-20828-CR-Jordan (S.D. Fla. Dec. 17, 2004) (reversing order of detention in health care fraud case in favor of corporate and personal surety bonds where losses alleged amounted to $3 million and defendant had strong community ties and no criminal history; bond set $150,000 ten percent bond); United States v. Hodge, No. 03-80146-CR-Marra (S.D. Fla. June 18, 2004) (affirming order denying pretrial detention in securities fraud case; no evidence of criminal record, significant foreign contacts, or any intent to flee from prosecution; bond set $250,000 corporate surety bond); United States v. Devilliers, No. 04-20159-CR-Gold (S.D. Fla. 15


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First, unlike Mr. Motamedi who was merely a permanent resident, Mr. Keshari is an American citizen. He has lived in the United States for more than three decades without incident. His children are natural born citizens and his wife, also a citizen, has lived in the United States since the age of 1. Second, the charges in both cases are essentially the same and, as the government concedes, the highest likely penalty, just as in Motamedi, is approximately five years in prison. Most of the charges against Mr. Keshari are simple violations of the embargo, which prohibits virtually all exports to Iran. Only two of the seven shipments are charged as violations of the Arms Export Control Act (as well as of the embargo). Third, the weight of the evidence against Mr. Keshari is not nearly so great as to motivate him to uproot his sick wife and young children or to abandon them. To prove a violation of the Iran embargo, the government must prove not only that Mr. Keshari caused such shipments but also that he knew the sellers whom he contacted lacked the requisite license. To prove the Arms Export Control Act violations, the government must prove that Mr. Keshari knew the parts were destined for military aircraft. The military use element is not as straightforward as it might appear. Unlike the schedules of controlled substances which actually list every controlled substance, the United States

April 12, 2004) (affirming denial of pretrial detention for defendant who spearheaded a gambling RICO enterprise based on lack of proof of serious risk of flight and no criminal history; bond set at $500,000 ten percent and $1,000,000 personal surety bond); United States v. Les Price, 01-Cr-20626 ($100,000 cash bond for Canadian charged with numerous counts of securities fraud and money laundering); United States v. Harold Joliffe, No. 02-CR-20642 ($100,000 10% and $500,000 corporate bond for Canadian national); United States v. Masferrer, 04-CR-20404 ($1,000,000 personal surety bond and $250,000 10% bond for defendant charged with numerous bank fraud counts who later received 30-year sentence). 16


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Munitions List describes categories of banned parts. The pertinent provision for this case states that it is illegal to export: Components, parts, accessories, attachments, and associated equipment (including ground support equipment) specifically designed or modified for the articles in paragraphs (a) through (e) of this category, excluding aircraft tires and propellers used with reciprocating engines.10 Sub-paragraph (a) of Category VIII describes the aircrafts that cannot be exported as follows: Aircraft, including but not limited to helicopters, non-expansive balloons, drones, and lighter-than-air aircraft, which are specifically designed, modified, or equipped for military purposes. This includes but is not limited to the following military purposes: Gunnery, bombing, rocket or missile launching, electronic and other surveillance, reconnaissance, refueling, aerial mapping, military liaison, cargo carrying or dropping, personnel dropping, airborne warning and control, and military training.11 Thus, the government needs to prove, not only that the allegedly shipped parts were “specifically designed or modified” to be used on military aircraft, but also that Mr. Keshari knew that they were. Given that the charged parts are common to virtually all aircrafts (as well as many other machines), the government needs to show considerably more than it has thus far. There is no evidence that Mr. Keshari knew that the shipments alleged were illegal, especially considering that the government does not even contend that Mr. Keshari ever saw the shipments. Venue in this district is predicated on the fact that the shipments originated here. Mr. Keshari is alleged to have brokered them from California. Thus, there is no evidence, much less a preponderance of it, showing Mr. Keshari’s knowledge or intent.

10

22 C.F.R. § 121.1 (Category VIII(h)).

11

22 C.F.R. § 121.1 (Category VIII(a)). 17


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Fourth, the factual predicate for the serious risk of flight in Motamedi was far more egregious than in this case given the close ties that Mr. Motamedi had to Iran. Unlike Mr. Motamedi, Mr. Keshari is not alleged to have any money in Iran or close ties to the Iranian government. Conversely, Mr. Keshari’s ties to the United States in terms of tenure in the country, assets in the country, and relatives who reside here—not to mention his own immediate American family including two young daughters to whom Iran is a strange and foreign land—are far stronger than Mr. Motamedi’s were. Lastly, it should be noted that the magistrate judge appears to have relied upon an unconstitutional factor—national origin—in deciding to detain Mr. Keshari. Cf. Iqbal v. Hasty, 490 F.3d 143 (2d Cir. 2007) (stating that discrimination in conditions of confinement on basis of Muslim Pakistani’s race, religion, and national origin is unconstitutional).12 That fact that Mr. Keshari “was born in Iran” is noted in the hearing transcript as well as the detention order. Transcript at 18; Detention Order at 2. This fact was, as a matter of constitutional law, irrelevant and could not be considered at all. Mr. Keshari is a citizen of the United States of America and is entitled to the equal protection of the Nation’s laws, to the same degree as his own children, who are natural-born citizens. All citizens must be admitted to bail on like terms. It is impossible to tell from the record to what extent the magistrate judge relied on this impermissible factor. In this case, the magistrate judge was concerned with whether Mr. Keshari might have the opportunity to flee rather than with whether he had any inclination flee. As Justice Brennan and Justice Kennedy both carefully reasoned, that is the important consideration. Under the

12

Alienage, of course, is different and “may be taken into account.” See Motamedi, 767 F.2d at 1408. Mr. Keshari is not an alien; he is a United States citizen. 18


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circumstances, there is simply no reason to believe that Mr. Keshari would not appear for all proceedings and face the charges against him if released on a reasonable bond. II.

The magistrate judge failed to afford Mr. Keshari due process of law by refusing to afford him an opportunity to be heard on his motion to re-open the pre-trial detention hearing. The Bail Reform Act provides that a pretrial detention hearing may be reopened, before or after a determination by the judicial officer, at any time before trial if the judicial officer finds that information exists that was not known to the movant at the time of the hearing and that has a material bearing on the issue whether there are conditions of release that will reasonably assure the appearance of such person as required and the safety of any other person and the community.

18 U.S.C. § 3142(f). In this case, Mr. Keshari sought relief under this statute and supported that request with the newly filed indictment and with defense counsel’s investigation of the government’s claims at the initial pre-trial hearing.13 As discussed in the Course of Proceedings section, supra, the charges the indictment actually states are less serious than what the government intimated they would be. Mr. Keshari is charged with a total of seven questionable shipments over a 19-month period. This does not support the idea that he is “basically a broker of military aircraft parts.” Transcript at 3. Nor can it be said that the magistrate judge was not unduly swayed by the government’s exaggerated claims. The magistrate judge concluded from the bench that Mr. Keshari’s conduct might give “the Iranian Government a reason to support him should he go to Iran.” Transcript at 18. Furthermore, undersigned counsel was prepared to present evidence, including several exculpatory e-mails, that severely undermined the government’s speculative and conclusory claims regarding Mr. Keshari’s mens rea. The motion also pointed out many of the factual 13

Mr. Keshari retained new counsel after his initial pre-trial detention hearing. Understandably, an individual with no criminal record who is ambushed by federal agents while vacationing with his family might need more than a week to select defense counsel. 19


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misrepresentations made by the government, including its overstatement of the number of trips Mr. Keshari has made to Iran since leaving there three decades ago. Despite the fact that both the nature of the charges and the weight of the evidence against Mr. Keshari were not as the government claimed, the magistrate judge refused to afford Mr. Keshari so much as a hearing to resolve these questions of fact and their impact on his liberty. This was a violation of due process. Even though the statute is phrased permissively, stating that the hearing “may be reopened” when new information is discovered, that does not mean that a hearing can be refused arbitrarily or for the sake of mere expedience. “The fundamental requirement of due process is the opportunity to be heard ‘at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.’” Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 333 (1976) (quoting Armstrong v. Manzo, 380 U.S. 545, 552 (1965)). The Mathews Court recognized that “‘[d]ue process is flexible and calls for such procedural protections as the particular situation demands.’” Id. at 334 (quoting Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 481 (1972)). The Court identified three factors to consider in assessing procedural due process rights: (1) the private interest at stake, (2) the risk of erroneous deprivation and the likely value of additional or substitute procedures, and (3) the governmental interest at stake. Id. at 334–35. In Salerno, the Supreme Court applied the Mathews factors in evaluating the constitutionality of the pretrial detention provision of § 3142 with respect to defendants detained on the grounds of dangerousness. Applying those factors to this case in which Mr. Keshari was detained on the sole ground that he posed a serious risk of flight indicates that he was entitled to be heard given the serious factual issues bearing upon his pre-trial status. First, Mr. Keshari’s interest in his liberty is of the very highest order. See, e.g., Ake v. Oklahoma, 470 U.S. 68, 78 (1985) (stating that liberty interest “is 20


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almost uniquely compelling.”); Schall v. Martin, 467 U.S. 253, 304 (1984) (stating that liberty interest is fundamental and should not be abridged if at all possible). Second, the risk of an erroneous deprivation is high where there are discrepancies between the government’s representations and reality, as there are in this case. Third, the government’s only interest in detaining someone who is a risk of flight is to ensure the integrity of judicial proceedings. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535 & n.15 (1979); Salerno, 481 U.S. at 766–67 (Marshall, J., dissenting). That interest is hardly furthered by denying Mr. Keshari a hearing to resolve factual inconsistencies regarding the basis for his detention pending trial. Rather than properly weighing Mr. Keshari’s due process interest in having the matter of his detention determined on correct and complete information, the magistrate judge simply made a summary determination from the written motion. The resulting order did not address the newly filed indictment, the contradictions between the government’s presentation and the true facts, or the exculpatory evidence that undermined the government’s assertions regarding the strength of its case. Instead, the magistrate judge summarily decided that he would detain Mr. Keshari regardless of any hearing, stating that the “additional information proffered by the defendant does not have a material bearing on whether the defendant should be detained prior to trial.” Order at 2. This conclusion is clearly erroneous. The Bail Reform Act specifically instructs that the detention decision must be predicated on the nature of the charges, the weight of the government’s evidence, and the characteristics of the defendant. 18 U.S.C. § 3142(g)(1), (2) & (3). The “additional information” that the defense proffered in the motion included the newly filed indictment. Obviously, that would be germane to the “nature of the charges” and the Bail Reform Act specifically entitles the defendant to be heard on that. 18 21


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U.S.C. § 3142(f). That is not to say that every defendant who is detained prior to indictment should have two hearings. It is to say that when the indictment is not exactly what the government proffered, issues of fairness arise that cannot be adequately resolved on the papers given that an individual interest of the highest order—liberty—is at stake. The fact that Mr. Keshari’s e-mails in fact do not “document” illegal transactions as the government claimed but are in large part equivocal and in many instances clearly exculpatory was critical to evaluating the weight of the evidence. When that is combined with the exaggerations regarding Mr. Keshari’s travel to Iran, the strength of the government’s case is far less than it appeared at the June hearing. The government’s conclusory and unsupported speculation that Mr. Keshari must or should have known that he was involved in shipping military parts is likewise undermined now that the alleged scheme is more clearly described in the indictment. All of the parts in all of the shipments are common to all aircraft and there is no evidence at all that Mr. Keshari, a mere broker or intermediary under the government’s own theory, ever laid eyes on any of the parts. Thus, even crediting the government’s baseless claim that Mr. Keshari could tell a commercial accumulator from a military one on sight (a plainly dubious claim), the government cannot rely on that to show knowledge or intent under its own version of the facts. Clearly, a hearing was needed to resolve these material inconsistencies in the government’s narrative. The government has no legitimate interest whatsoever in detaining an American citizen pending trial when that individual’s appearance can be reasonably assured with a bond. On the other hand, an individual facing felony charges has an inestimable interest in being free of confinement, not only because liberty is an interest of the highest order but also because incarceration compromises the defendant’s ability to prepare to meet the government’s accusations. “‘If it suffices 22


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to accuse, what will become of the innocent?’” Coffin v. United States, 156 U.S. 432, 455 (1895) (quoting Ammianus Marcellinus, Rerum Gestarum Libri Qui Supersunt, L. XVIII, c. 1, A.D. 359). Mr. Keshari was therefore doubtlessly entitled to have his pre-trial release status adjudicated on complete and correct information. It is not good enough that the information was mostly correct or that the judicial officer believes the same conclusion would likely result. The process must be fair. Under the circumstances, the magistrate judge clearly erred in refusing to re-open the hearing. Conclusion WHEREFORE this Court should grant Mr. Keshari a hearing to resolve the factual issues pertinent to his detention, revoke the pre-trial detention order, and set a reasonable bond for Mr. Keshari. Alternatively, the Court should rule that the magistrate judge violated Mr. Keshari’s Fifth Amendment due process rights by refusing to re-open the pre-trial detention hearing under 18 U.S.C. § 3145 and direct the magistrate judge to re-open the hearing to afford Mr. Keshari a full and fair opportunity to be heard. Respectfully submitted,

____________________________ David Oscar Markus Fla. Bar No. 119318 Robin Kaplan Fla. Bar. No. 773751 DAVID OSCAR MARKUS, PLLC Alfred I. duPont Building 169 East Flagler Street, Suite 1200 Miami, Florida 33131 Telephone: 305-379-6667 Facsimile: 305-379-6668 23


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CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE A copy of the foregoing was served through the electronic filing system on July 29, 2008, on AUSA

Melissa Damian.

___________________________ David Oscar Markus


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