Sunday, November 3, 2013

United States v. Salerno case brief

United States v. Salerno case brief summary
481 U.S. 739 (1987)

CASE SYNOPSIS
The government filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to challenge its finding that 18 U.S.C.S. § 3142(e) of the Bail Reform Act of 1984 was unconstitutional, in an action by respondent arrestees.

CASE FACTS
The arrestees were charged with criminal offenses. At their arraignments, the government filed a motion to detain them on the ground that no condition of release would assure the safety of the community or any person. The district court granted the motion. The arrestees appealed, arguing that their pretrial detention, under 18 U.S.C.S. § 3142(e) of the Bail Reform Act of 1984 (BRA), was unconstitutional. The appellate court struck down the provision as facially unconstitutional. The government appealed from the decision.

DISCUSSION
  • The Court reversed, holding that § 3142(e) was constitutional on its face because it was based on the compelling interest of concern for the safety of people. 
  • It did not violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment or the excessive bail clause of the Eighth Amendment. 
  • The Court also noted that the fact that the BRA might operate unconstitutionally under some conceivable set of circumstances was insufficient to render it wholly invalid. 
  • The arrestees failed to shoulder their heavy burden to demonstrate that the BRA was "facially" unconstitutional.

CONCLUSION

The Court reversed the appellate court's finding that a provision of the Bail Reform Act of 1984 was unconstitutional. The Court held that it was not unconstitutional for a federal court to detain an arrestee pending trial if the government demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that no release conditions would reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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