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Drug defendant to stay in jail

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A Little Rock woman who was ordered jailed until her drug conspiracy case is resolved will have to remain in jail after a decision announced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker.

Robin Nelson Flanagan appeared Monday before Baker to appeal a pair of rulings handed down last month by U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Harris. Harris ruled March 8 that Flanagan should remain in jail after finding that her criminal history indicated she would pose a danger to the community if allowed to remain free while her case is decided. On March 16, Harris denied a motion for reconsideration by Flanagan through her attorney, Theodis Thompson of Little Rock.

Flanagan is one of nine people indicted in March as part of a drug ring authorities said was based in Sherwood. She has two drug trafficking convictions in federal court, one in 2007 with co-defendant Brian Litton, and the other in 2014.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Gardner reiterated the government’s position that Flanagan should remain in jail while her case is adjudicated, arguing that her propensity to commit crimes was sufficient to declare her a danger to the community.

“This defendant has two prior federal felony convictions for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances,” Gardner said. “While on supervised release as recently as January 2021, she was arrested in possession of a large amount of cash and methamphetamine in her vehicle after she left the house of Brian Litton.” Gardner said that Flanagan’s history of violating her supervised release and revocations provided evidence that regardless of the conditions imposed, she would not abide by them.

“We just don’t see any basis for letting her out in this regard,” Gardner said, noting that Flanagan is scheduled for a final revocation hearing in May related to her arrest last January while she was on supervised release from her 2014 conviction.

Thompson argued that Flanagan posed less of a risk to the community than some of her co-defendants who have been allowed to get out of jail on pretrial release, including Litton, who was released March 1.

“If you look at another person named in this indictment, we believe that person is a far greater risk to the community and more of a risk of flight,” Thompson said. “Mr. Litton is No. 1 in this indictment of nine individuals. He has a total of six counts — one conspiracy and five possession counts — as opposed to my client, Ms. Flanagan, only having two.” He said as a matter of fairness, Flanagan should be allowed to leave jail under similar restrictions as those imposed on Litton.

But Gardner argued that other factors, including health problems, factored into the court’s decision to release Litton, and she said Flanagan’s position in the conspiracy was at the top despite being the No. 2 named defendant.

“Ms. Flanagan was [Litton’s] source of supply,” Gardner said. “Ms. Flanagan was at the top of this pyramid and was distributing kilo quantities of methamphetamine in this town.” Baker’s ruling denying Flanagan’s appeal was filed Wednesday afternoon.

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