United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division
JEFFREY L. VIKEN CHIEF JUDGE.
Dustin Sierra was arrested on a federal complaint on July 30,
2019. (Dockets 1 & 3). He made his initial appearance on
the complaint before Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann on July
31. (Docket 10). The magistrate judge temporarily detained
defendant at that hearing. (Docket 13). On August 14, a grand
jury indicted defendant on charges of kidnapping, aggravated
sexual abuse by force, interstate domestic violence, assault
resulting in serious bodily injury, and assault by
strangulation of a dating partner. (Docket 31). The counts of
the indictment pertaining to defendant charged him with these
offenses both as a principal and as an aider and abettor.
Id. at pp. 1-3. The indictment separately charges
co-defendant Jesse Sierra on these same offenses solely as a
principal. Id. at pp. 4-5.
August 14, the magistrate judge held a detention hearing for
defendant pursuant to the Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. §
3141 et seq. (Docket 33). She found defendant posed a serious
risk to the safety of another person or the community and
ordered him detained pending trial. (Docket 35 at p. 1). Now
before the court is defendant's appeal of the magistrate
judge's detention order, filed pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
§ 3145(b). (Docket 36). The government opposes the
appeal. (Docket 45). For the reasons given below, the court
denies the appeal.
factual recitation given here is based on the allegations in
the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint and the
evidence presented before the magistrate judge at
defendant's detention hearing. The court well understands
that new evidence may emerge as the case progresses. This
factual recitation is necessarily incomplete because of the
early stage of the case. It does not bind the magistrate
judge or the court in any factfinding endeavors that may be
undertaken in response to future motions. As in all
proceedings under the Bail Reform Act, nothing in this order
is intended to “modify or limit the presumption of
innocence.” 18 U.S.C. § 3142(j).
14, Esther Wolfe was reported missing to the Rapid City
Police Department (“RCPD”). (Docket 1-1 at ¶
3). The reporting party stated Ms. Wolfe and co-defendant
Jesse Sierra had dated and that he had assaulted Ms. Wolfe
during the relationship. Id. Defendant and Mr.
Sierra are brothers. (Docket 43 at p. 6). The reporter last
observed Ms. Wolfe on July 13 at her workplace, the Hilton
Garden Inn. (Docket 1-1 at ¶ 3). The RCPD interviewed
friends of Ms. Wolfe. Id. at ¶ 4. They stated
Mr. Sierra was set to be released from jail in Colorado and
Ms. Wolfe was afraid of his return. Id.
17, Oglala Sioux Tribe police went to the home of
defendant's father, Michael Sierra, Sr. (Docket 42 at p.
8). They spoke with defendant there. Id. Defendant
stated he had not seen Mr. Sierra or Ms. Wolfe. Id.
Also on July 17, the RCPD received a call from Ms. Wolfe.
(Docket 1-1 at ¶ 7). She told police she was not in
danger. Id. The call was placed from a No.
registered to Louella Youngman, defendant's mother.
Id.; see also Docket 8 at p. 1. Ms. Youngman told
the RCPD Mr. Sierra and Ms. Wolfe had been at her property
and later went to Chadron, Nebraska. (Docket 1-1 at ¶
8). On July 18, defendant's brother, Michael Sierra, Jr.,
told the RCPD that defendant, Mr. Sierra and Ms. Wolfe were
all together but denied they had been at his house in
Chadron. Id. at ¶ 10.
21, Ms. Wolfe appeared at the hospital in Chadron.
Id. at ¶ 11. She was severely bruised on her
face and body-including on her neck and collarbone area-and
had a broken jaw and broken ribs. Id. On July 22,
RCPD and Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”)
officers interviewed Ms. Wolfe. Id. at ¶ 12.
Ms. Wolfe stated she had previously been in a dating
relationship with Mr. Sierra and that he came to her
workplace on July 13. Id. She agreed to go to the
Golden Corral restaurant with him. Id. at ¶ 13.
Golden Corral surveillance footage shows defendant, Mr.
Sierra and Ms. Wolfe in the restaurant on July 13. (Docket 43
at p. 7). Defendant's child was also with the group at
the restaurant. Id.
leaving the restaurant, they went to the 24/7 Program
building. Id. Mr. Sierra, Ms. Wolfe and
defendant's vehicle were captured on surveillance footage
at that location. Id. Defendant then drove the group
to his home in Oglala, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge
Reservation. (Docket 1-1 at ¶¶ 14, 17). Ms. Wolfe
did not want to go to the reservation and attempted to flee.
Id. at ¶ 14. During the drive to Oglala, Mr.
Sierra “repeatedly strangled [Ms.] Wolfe to
unconsciousness.” Id. at ¶ 15. Defendant
refused to stop the vehicle or help Ms. Wolfe. Id.
at ¶¶ 14-16. Defendant's child was present in
the vehicle while Mr. Sierra was strangling Ms. Wolfe.
(Docket 43 at p. 7).
Oglala, Mr. Sierra repeatedly sexually and physically
assaulted Ms. Wolfe. (Docket 1-1 at ¶¶ 17-22). Some
of the alleged assaults were torturous. Mr. Sierra tied Ms.
Wolfe up inside a camper and confined her into a small space
by nailing boards around her. Id. at ¶ 20. He
physically and sexually assaulted her inside the camper.
Id. Mr. Sierra also “dug a shallow grave and
forced [Ms. Wolfe] to get into the grave” while asking
her if she was ready to die. Id. at ¶ 22. Ms.
Wolfe did not allege defendant directly participated in any
of these assaults. Mr. Sierra took Ms. Wolfe to an abandoned
house near Ms. Youngman's residence. Id. at
¶ 23. On July 17, defendant picked Ms. Wolfe and Mr.
Sierra up from Ms. Youngman's residence and drove them to
Mr. Sierra, Jr.'s, residence in Nebraska. Id. at
¶¶ 7, 24. Mr. Sierra and Ms. Wolfe then went to a
motel in Crawford, where Mr. Sierra repeatedly sexually
assaulted her. Id. at ¶ 25. Mr. Sierra and Mr.
Sierra, Jr., later took Ms. Wolfe to the Chadron hospital.
Id. at ¶ 26.
bail report indicates he was charged with domestic abuse in
2014, but the charge was dismissed. (Docket 8 at p. 4). In
2015, defendant pled guilty to charges of unlawfully entering
a building and simple assault. Id. Defendant's
wife applied for a protection order against him in 2017.
Id. It was denied. Id. While defendant has
been in pretrial detention, a court granted his wife a
protection order. Id.
a person is ordered detained by a magistrate judge . . . .
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.” 18 U.S.C. § 3145(b). A district
court's review of a detention order entered by a
magistrate judge “should proceed de novo.”
United States v. Maull, 773 F.2d 1479, 1481 (8th
Cir. 1985) (en banc).
To engage in a meaningful de novo review, the district court
must have available the options open to the magistrate. . . .
Only after determining that release upon personal
recognizance or an unsecured appearance bond will not
reasonably assure appearance or will endanger the safety of