U.S. v. Angiulo, 84-1745

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore BREYER, ALDRICH and TORRUELLA; BREYER
Citation755 F.2d 969
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Gennaro J. ANGIULO, Defendant, Appellant. . Heard
Docket NumberNo. 84-1745,84-1745
Decision Date10 January 1985

Page 969

755 F.2d 969
UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,
Gennaro J. ANGIULO, Defendant, Appellant.
No. 84-1745.
United States Court of Appeals,
First Circuit.
Heard Jan. 10, 1985.
Decided Feb. 25, 1985.

James L. Sultan, Boston, Mass., with whom Joseph T. Travaline, Burlington, Mass., was on brief, for defendant, appellant.

Diane M. Kottmyer, Boston, Mass., with whom Ernest S. Dinisco, Jane E. Serene, Sp. Attys., William F. Weld, U.S. Atty. and Jeremiah T. O'Sullivan, Sp. Atty., Boston, Mass., were on brief, for appellee.

Before BREYER, ALDRICH and TORRUELLA, Circuit Judges.

BREYER, Circuit Judge.

The district court, applying the Bail Reform Act of 1984, found that the release of Gennaro Anguilo from pretrial detention would put at risk the "safety" of the community, and it ordered that he remain in custody. Anguilo appeals, on the ground that the new Bail Reform Act does not apply to one like him whom the government had charged before the new Act took effect. Since we do not agree with this claim, since Anguilo makes no significant constitutional challenge to the new statute on this appeal, and since we find that the district court's order has sufficient evidentiary support, we affirm the district court's decision.


The basic procedural facts are the following. On September 19, 1983, a grand jury charged appellant with several serious federal crimes. On September 20, the government brought appellant before a magistrate, who ordered him held without bail lest he flee the jurisdiction--a decision that the district court affirmed. In early January, 1984, this court upheld the lawfulness of appellant's pretrial confinement, finding the evidence of risk of flight sufficient to make this a "rare case of extreme and unusual circumstances that justifies pretrial detention without bail." United States v. Anguilo, No. 83-1965 (1st Cir. Jan. 5, 1984), quoting United States v. Abrahams, 575 F.2d 3, 8 (1st Cir.), cert.

Page 970

denied, 439 U.S. 821, 99 S.Ct. 85, 58 L.Ed.2d 112 (1978).

During 1984 appellant first asked the magistrate and then twice asked the district court to reconsider his circumstances. See Bail Reform Act of 1966, 18 U.S.C. former Secs. 3146(d) and 3147(a). On October 9, 1984, the district court wrote that it was "prepared to order" that appellant be released under conditions "tantamount to house arrest"; and, it asked the government to suggest appropriate safeguards. In response, the government noted that the new Bail Reform Act had just become law (on October 12, 1984); it asked the court to continue appellant's detention under the new Act's "dangerousness" provisions. On October 19, the court ordered appellant's continued detention. Subsequently, in a memorandum of October 23, the court wrote that its

stated intention in its prior decision to release the defendant on bail is withdrawn, and the government's motion that the defendant be detained pending trial as required by the Bail Reform Act of 1984 is allowed.

Anguilo appeals from the district court's decision.


The basic legal issue in this case is whether the standards of the new Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3141 et seq., apply to one who, like appellant, was incarcerated (and seeking release) on October 12, 1984, when the new Act became law. The Act itself does not say. It speaks of an "effective date" of "October 12, 1984," but it is silent as to whether, or to what extent, it applies to those charged before that date. Its language neither precludes nor mandates such application. Similarly, the parties have not been able to point to anything in the legislative history of the Act that suggests Congress explicitly considered the question. We have found, however, two sources of authority that point towards a proper legal answer.

First, courts often turn to various "canons" of construction to interpret statutes that are silent or ambiguous. See generally, e.g., C. Sands, Statutes and Statutory Construction (4th ed. 1984); R. Dickerson, The Interpretation and Application of Statutes (1975). One such canon, relevant here, interprets new statutes and other new law to reflect an intent to apply to cases in the process of being decided at the time the new law takes effect. This canon, or principle, is reflected in Chief Justice Marshall's well known statement that,

if subsequent to the judgment and before the decision of the appellate court, a law intervenes and positively changes the rule which governs, the law must be obeyed....

United States v. Schooner Peggy, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 102, 109, 2 L.Ed. 49 (1801). This principle is embodied in the Supreme Court's holding that a new law applies to a case in progress unless applying it "would result in manifest injustice or there is statutory direction or legislative history to the contrary." Bradley v. Richmond School Board, 416 U.S. 696, 711, 94 S.Ct. 2006, 2016, 40 L.Ed.2d 476 (1974); New England Power Co. v. United States, 693 F.2d 239, 244 (1st Cir.1982). The case before us is one that was pending on October 12. The district court had not reached a final decision about appellant's application for release. Since nothing in the new Bail Reform Act or its legislative history says that the Act does not apply, Bradley requires us to look to the "justice" or "injustice" of the new Act's application.

We do not believe it "unjust" to apply the new Act to those, like appellant, who were in custody on October 12, 1984, because those then in custody are unlikely to have relied to their detriment upon the continued application of prior law. In this respect there is an important difference between persons in custody on October 12 and those free on bail. The latter might claim that they have relied upon continued freedom in making plans for their trial defense, or in making other important plans; and the threat of incarceration might disrupt those plans. The former, however, could not have reasonably relied

Page 971

upon the freedom promised them under prior law, for they were committed to custody under that law. At best theirs was a hope for freedom that changing circumstances might, or might not, have let them realize.

Without a showing of likely significant and justified reliance those in custody fall outside both Bradley 's exception and the scope of other canons that disfavor "retroactive" application of new statutes. See, e.g., United States v. Security Industrial Bank, 459 U.S. 70, 79, 103 S.Ct. 407, 412, 74 L.Ed.2d 235 (1982); Greene v. United States, 376 U.S. 149, 160, 84 S.Ct. 615, 621, 11 L.Ed.2d 576 (1964); United States v. Heth, 7 U.S. (3 Cranch) 399, 413, 2 L.Ed. 479 (1806). These canons basically seek to protect the interests of those who have reasonably relied upon the legal status quo. See 2 C. Sands, Statutes and Statutory Construction Secs. 41.04, 41.05 (4th ed. 1973). An inability to find such likely reliance by those incarcerated indicates that application of the new law is not unjust, and that Congress therefore likely intended the new law to apply, at least to pending proceedings involving incarcerated persons.

Applying a canon like Bradley 's to discern congressional intent is not simply to indulge in a legal fiction. The Bradley rule (reflecting the Schooner Peggy principle) is well established. Legislative draftsmen and their legal advisors often refer to well established interpretive principles when preparing statutory language. A court decision consistent with such a principle is more likely than its opposite to reflect what congressional staffs, advisors, witnesses, interest groups, and legislators themselves believe will occur despite a legislative history that is silent. (In fact, silence may reflect an absence of controversy, not congressional indifference to the result.) At the same time consistent judicial adherence to interpretive principles eases the task of drafting legislation by pointing to likely future interpretive results without requiring statutory language on every point. These practical institutional considerations as well as legal theory recommend adherence to Bradley 's interpretive rule here.

Second, a consideration of the new Act's basic purposes suggests that legislators, with those purposes in mind, would likely favor the Act's application to those in custody. Cf. Mayburg v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 740 F.2d 100, 104-07 (1st Cir.1984). The Act has at least two objectives. On the one hand, it seeks to prevent the "arbitrary use of high money bail as a way to assure a defendant's incarceration." S.Rep. No. 225, 98th Cong., 1st Sess. 9-10 (1983) U.S.Code Cong. & Admin.News 1984 pp. 1, 11, 12 ("It has been suggested that pretrial detention under" the former Bail Act "is often the result of intentional imposition of excessively stringent release conditions, and in particular high money bonds"). See Hearings before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Senate Comm. on the Judiciary, 97th Cong., 1st Sess. 100, 181, 216-17 (1982). It therefore states explicitly what the prior statute said implicitly, that a "judicial officer may not impose a financial condition that results in the pretrial detention of any person." 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3142(c). (See Appendix, infra, for text of relevant portions of the Act.) On the other hand, the new Act broadens the courts' authority to detain "dangerous" persons prior to trial. It requires magistrates and judges to focus on the question of danger directly, and allows them, after a hearing, to keep in custody not only defendants who pose a serious risk of flight, but also those who seriously threaten the "safety" of others or of "the community." 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3142(e). Thus the statute seeks to assure release of the defendant who is "safe but poor" while allowing detention of a dangerous defendant financially capable of posting a bond.

Given these purposes, it is difficult to see why Congress would not want the new law to apply to those incarcerated at the time it was enacted. To apply...

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