A federal judge yesterday denied a request from a member of an alleged South End drug ring that he be allowed to await trial at his godmother's home rather than behind bars.
US District Court Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler cited an earlier ruling by another judge that the man would likely prove a menace to society should he be allowed out.
In his request for pre-trial release, Tarik Muhammad's lawyer cited his increased risk for serious complications should he contract Covid-19, because he has asthma and because the government's evidence for his involvement in his cousin Kenji Drayton's alleged drug ring was pretty skimpy.
US District Court Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler, however, did not buy it. In her ruling, she said that Muhammad's asthma was well controlled and that his attorney did not show how the jail where he's now confined puts him at particular risk of infection. She continued:
The records indicate the defendant refused the annual flu vaccine in the fall. More recently he refused the COVID vaccine, which is widely recommended by public health authorities and particularly for individuals with comorbidities such as asthma. The defendant has been afforded a measure of protection from the virus that he probably would not be eligible to receive for weeks if not months if he were not incarcerated. He cannot argue that he is not getting adequate preventive care when he has declined what would be the best protection.
And that was after Bowler wrote she agreed with the earlier ruling, by Magistrate Judge Judith Dein, that Muhammad should not be released for public-safety reasons while he awaits trial on his charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute:
The defendant, age 25, has been in custody for much of his life. He was detained in DYS facilities from age 16 (September 2010) until he was transferred to state prison in February 2013, where he remained until age 21 in January 2016. This incarceration was the result of a conviction for aggravated assault with intent to murder stemming from a stabbing on a bus. He was arrested again in 2017 for assault with a dangerous weapon (gun) and other firearm offenses. While the charges were eventually dismissed, he was incarcerated to serve the balance of a sentence imposed for violation of his youthful offender probation sentence. The defendant was released from prison on February 25, 2020. Two months later, on April 8, 2020, he was stopped with the drugs which give rise to the instant case. In May 2020 he was charged in Roxbury District Court with unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, resisting arrest, and possession of a loaded firearm without a permit. Those charges are still pending. The defendant was released from state court on those charges after he posted a $5,000 bond and was put on GPS monitoring with a curfew. The defendant does not seem able to conform his behavior to the requirements of the law. Despite lengthy periods of incarceration he continues to be involved in very dangerous activities. He cannot be supervised and the danger to the community if released is too great.
Bowler noted that Suffolk County prosecutors dropped the latest gun charges, but said the rest of Dein's reasoning still holds.