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What to Know About Compassionate Release Cases


"Collection of Compassionate Release Cases"  published by Pate, Johnson & Church

The outbreak of COVID-19 among the Bureau of Prisons’ facilities has been well-documented by now. The Director of the BOP recently announced that of the few thousand inmates who had been tested by the end of April, 70% tested positive for COVID-19.

While Attorney General Barr has issued guidance urging the BOP to “maximize” its use of home confinement and has in fact expanded the class of inmates eligible for home confinement through the CARES Act, the BOP has been slow to reduce inmates.

To date, the BOP’s “Coronavirus Update” page, which includes the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among inmates and staff and the facilities experiencing outbreaks, states that less than 2% of its inmates have been placed in home confinement.

Additionally, a lack of testing among BOP makes clear that the BOP’s numbers understate the true number of cases among inmates and staff.

As a result, inmates are filing motions for “Compassionate Release” under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(1)(A), through which a court can modify a defendant’s sentence based on finding “extraordinary and compelling reasons” warrant such a modification.

However, there are requirements an inmate must meet before filing a motion under 3582(c), including a requirement that the inmate submits a request to the BOP first.

Miami Federal Crimes Attorney Joel DeFabio, Esq. has been retained by several inmates across the country, some of whom have serious medical conditions or are at BOP facilities experiencing significant outbreaks of COVID-19. Below, is a list of Compassionate Release grants and some of the key findings and information in the corresponding opinions.

The list identifies, for example, grants of release for inmates who have no medical conditions, who have already tested positive for COVID-19, or who are at facilities where there are no confirmed cases.


United States v. Cosgrove,

2020 WL 1875509, at *5 (W.D. Wash. Apr. 15, 2020)

  • Defendant, 70 years old, liver transplant in 2015, heart attacks, degenerative disc disease
  • Defendant served only half of the 60-month sentence, presented “serious concerns,” had not paid restitution
    • Release date January 2022
  • Acknowledging that BOP’s “preventive and mitigation measures include a screening of staff and incoming inmates, limited contractor visits, suspension of nearly all attorney, social, and volunteer visits, limited inmate movements between facilities, and staggered times for meals and recreation.
  • The Court does not discount the tremendous efforts taken by the BOP and staff at Terminal Island during this extraordinary time. However, even with these efforts in place, the BOP has reported eight infections at the facility as of April 14, 2020.”

United States v. Muniz,

4:09-cr-199, Dkt. No. 578 (S.D. Tex. Mar. 30, 2020)

  • Renal disease, diabetes, hypertension, at Butner
  • 188 month sentence starting April 2009

Samy v. United States,

2020 WL 1888842, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 16, 2020)

  • 72 years old, Uncontrolled Hypertension, Congestive Heart Failure, Type II Diabetes, and Asthma
  • Waiving exhaustion
  • “Furthermore, the persuasive precedent for granting compassionate release under the current circumstances is overwhelming.”

United States v. Norris,

No. 3:17-cr-106 (SRU), 3:18-cr-243 (SRU) (D. Conn. Apr. 16, 2020)

  • Defendant has asthma and uses an inhaler
  • “Health officials have recognized that individuals with chronic respiratory disease are deemed at greater risk of COVID-19. Due to his incarceration, Norris is unable to properly safeguard against infection.”

United States v. Hernandez,

2020 WL 1684062, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 2, 2020)

  • Granting release due to defendant’s asthma and the “heightened medical risk presented to [the defendant] by the COVID-19 pandemic”)
  • Government does not oppose
  • Sentenced in November 2018 to a 24-month term, over August 2020
  • “COVID-19 presents a heightened risk for incarcerated defendants like Mr. Hernandez with respiratory ailments such as asthma.”
  • Collecting cases—

United States v. Brooks,

2020 WL 2509107 (C.D. Ill., May 15, 2020)

  • 247-months, reduced to 200, started in 2007, Elkton
  • Projected release is May 26, 2027
  • 45 years old, morbid obesity, severe asthma, high blood pressure, recovering from bowel surgery
  • Rejects narrow 1B1.13, talks at length about the effect of the First Step Act

United States v. Gonzalez,

2020 WL 2511427 (D. Conn., May 15, 2020)

  • Govt doesn’t dispute extraordinary and compelling reasons, danger to the community, and inadequate release plan
  • 4-year sentence, 6 months left to serve
  • Recovering from cancer before sentencing, Allenwood in PA, eligible for halfway house in May 2020
  • Only 1 confirmed case at the time at Allenwood, “But because the general lack of testing and prevalence of COVID-19 among asymptomatic persons, it seems reasonably likely from the single positive test result that there is some ongoing COVID-19 infiltration at Allenwood.”

United States v. Delgado,

3:18-cr-00017-VAB, Dkt. 76 (D. Conn., April 30, 2020)

  • Obesity and sleep apnea, extensive discussion of obesity
  • Released into home confinement

United States v. Scparta,

2020 WL 1910481, at *9 (S.D.N.Y., April 20, 2020)

  • Hypertension, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol
  • “Given this dangerous set of conditions and Kafkaesque approach” regarding the 14-day quarantine and restarting it when someone tests positive
  • Served half of his sentence, at Butner

United States v. Minor,

9:18-cr-80152-DMM, Dkt. 35 (S.D. Fla., April 17, 2020)

  • 71-year-old diabetic, cardio disease, hypertension, sleep apnea, prostate cancer, strokes, has to rely on others
  • release January 22, 2022, serving 41 months in prison
  • waives exhaustion, undue prejudice
  • home detention release

United States v. Pena,

2020 WL 2301199, at *5 (S.D.N.Y., May 8, 2020)

  • Fort Dix inmate, 2/3 of 84-month sentence, release date Feb 2022 but notes could be released to HC earlier
  • Waive exhaustion; 30 days may be too long “even though, as the Government proffers, the Bureau of Prisons has taken significant action to reduce the risk COVID-19 poses to prisoners. Gov’t Br. at 6–7. The Court lauds these efforts and urges continued and increased vigilance
  • Notes confinement in “low-security facility” as factor favoring release.
  • 60 with hypertension and hyperlipidemia

United States v. Love,

1:14-cr-00004-PLM, Dkt. 41 (W.D. Mich., April 21, 2020)

  • Defendant was 66 with strokes, Elkton, 114 months starting August 2014
  • Waiving exhaustion

United States v. Foster,

1:14-cr-324-02, Dkt. 191 (M.D. Pa. April 3, 2020)

  • Bronchiectasis, airway blocks with mucus, 60-month sentence from 2017, release date April 2021
  • Already approved for home confinement, 45 days from the date

United States v. Copeland,

No. 2:05-cr-135-DCN (D.S.C. Mar. 24, 2020)

  • granting compassionate release to 73 y/o defendant in part due to “Congress’s desire for courts to release individuals the aged defendant is, with the ailments that defendant has during this current pandemic”)
  • Diabetes, obesity, prostate cancer
  • “Based on defendant’s current sentence relative to his likely sentence under the current regime, his age, his health, his ability to obtain better medical treatment outside the federal prison system”

United States v. Marin,

No. 15-cr-252, Dkt. No. 1326 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 2020)

  • “for the reasons stated in his motion, including his advanced age, significantly deteriorating health, elevated risk of dire health consequences due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, status as a non-violent offender, and service of 80% of his original sentence.”

United States v. Williams,

No. 3:04-cr-95-MCR-CJK, Dkt. No. 91 (N.D. Fla. Apr. 1, 2020)

  • Medical condition, elderly, at Butner, a life sentence
  • Unfortunately, in the context of institutional confinement, social distancing can be nearly impossible to implement and follow, given the large numbers of inmates held together in crowded, closed facilities. In light of this reality, courts around the country have recognized that the risk of COVID-19 to people held in jails and prisons “is significantly higher than in the community, both in terms of risk of transmission, exposure, and harm to individuals who become infected.”

United States v. Harper,

2020 WL 2046381, at *3 (W.D. Va. Apr. 28, 2020)

  • In the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, courts have found extraordinary and compelling reasons for compassionate release when an inmate shows both a particularized susceptibility to the disease and a particularized risk of contracting the disease at his prison facility.
  • Butner inmate, release date November 2021, 62 years old COPD, asthma, hypertension, sleep apnea

United States v. Jenkins,

Case No. 1:99-cr-439, Dkt. No. 485 (D. Co. May 8, 2020)

  • Defendant in custody since 1998.
  • Released because he’s been a model UNICOR inmate
  • Has suffered strokes and other medical ailments in prison, and because he’s vulnerable to COVID-19 and
  • even though the BOP has taken a number of measures to protect inmates – the disease has breached facility walls

United States v. Gomez,

2020 WL 2061537, at *2 (S.D. Tex. Apr. 29, 2020)

  • “Courts around the country, including the Fifth Circuit, have noted that the exhaustion requirement can be waived during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic due to extraordinary and compelling reasons such as the petitioner defendant’s age, underlying health conditions, and family circumstances”
  • DENYING due to lack of health reasons

Valentine v. Collier,

956 F.3d 797 (5th Cir. 2020)

  • “Second, our reasoning on PLRA’s exhaustion requirement does not foreclose federal prisoners from seeking relief under the First Step Act’s provisions for compassionate release. See18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i). Though that statute contains its own administrative exhaustion requirement, several courts have concluded that this requirement is not absolute and that it can be waived by the government or by the court, therefore justifying an exception in the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • Higginson concurrence

United States v. Jackson,

2020 WL 1955402, at *4 (S.D. Tex. Apr. 23, 2020)

  • Inmate’s “high vulnerability to COVID-19 amount to extraordinary and compelling reasons for reducing his sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i)”
  • Need for kidney transplant
  • 30-day lapse
  • Conditions – The Court finds that any lingering concerns can be addressed through tailored conditions of release. The Court determines that Mr. Jackson should be placed on home confinement for the first eighteen months of probation, and be subject during that period to whatever location monitoring services the Probation Office sees fit to impose.

United States v. Zukerman,

2020 WL 1659880 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 3, 2020)

  • Waiving exhaustion and granting immediate release
  • Defendant convicted in a multi-million-dollar fraud scheme
  • “The severity of Zukerman’s conduct remains unchanged. What has changed, however, is the environment where Zukerman is serving his sentence. When the Court sentenced Zukerman, the Court did not intend for that sentence to ‘include a great and unforeseen risk of severe illness or death’ brought on by a global pandemic”
  • Age, diabetes, hypertension, obesity

United States v. Edwards,

2020 WL 1650406, at *5 (W. Va. Apr. 2, 2020)

  • “Had the Court known when it sentenced Defendant in 2018 that the final 18 months of his term in federal prison would expose him to a heightened and substantial risk presented by the COVID-19 pandemic on account of Defendant’s compromised immune system, the Court would not have sentenced him to the latter 18 months”
  • Terminal illness; 1B1.13 analysis

United States v. Resnik,

2020 WL 1651508 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 2, 2020)

  • “Releasing a prisoner who is for all practical purposes deserving of compassionate release during normal times is all but mandated in the age of COVID-19”
  • 65 y/o, diabetes, liver disease
  • Given (1) the highly infectious nature of COVID-19, (2) the limitations in a prison environment (even a prison medical center) on practicing the hygienic and social distancing techniques that the Center for Disease Control has put in place to prevent rapid transmission, and (3) the fact that Mr. Resnick suffers from ailments that have already been identified as “high risk,” this Court finds that Mr. Resnick’s legitimate medical risk is a sufficiently extraordinary and compelling basis for granting compassionate release (*7)

United States v. Rodriguez,

No. 2:03-cr-271-AB, Dkt. No. 135 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 1, 2020)

  • granting release after finding risk factors for COVID-19 constitute extraordinary and compelling reason and noting that prisons are “tinderboxes for infectious disease”
  • Elkton inmate, 17 years into 20-year mandatory minimum drug and firearm case, one year from home confinement eligibility
  • Diabetes, HBP, liver problems
    • Statistics on diabetes

United States v. Gonzalez,

No. 2:18-cr-232-TOR, Dkt. No. 834 (E.D. Wash. Mar. 31, 2020)

  • releasing defendant one month into a 10 month sentence in light of medical issues; ordinarily these conditions would be manageable but “these are not ordinary times”
  • Waived exhaustion, not yet in BOP custody
  • 64 y/o, COPD, emphysema, inhaler
  • “Impossible to practice social distancing or isolation in a jail setting”

United States v. Colvin,

2020 WL 1613943 (D. Conn. Apr. 2, 2020)

  • 7 days left on sentence
  • Multiple health conditions and inability to social-distance in prison and concluding that “[i]n light of the expectation that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to grow and spread over the next several weeks, the Court concludes that the risks faced by Defendant will be minimized by her immediate release to home confinement”

United States v. Norris,

2020 WL 2110640 (E.D. NC Apr. 30, 2020)

  • Life-threatening, not transferred to BOP facility yet
  • Pneumonia while incarcerated
  • Not bound by 1B1.13

United States v. Harris,

No. 18-cr-364 (PGG) (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 8, 2020),

  • finding extraordinary and compelling reasons for the release of the inmate with asthma and Crohn’s disease, which made him particularly vulnerable to COVID-19

United States v. Sawicz,

No. 08-cr-287, Dkt. No. 66 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 10, 2020)

  • Releasing child pornography offender based on “[t]he COVID-19 outbreak at FCI Danbury, combined with the fact that the defendant is at risk of suffering severe complications if he were to contract COVID-19 because of his hypertension”

United States v. McCarthy,

2020 WL 1698732 (D. Conn. Apr. 8, 2020)

  • Waiving exhaustion
  • Bank robbery, 38 months
  • MDC but was supposed to go to Danbury for discharge
  • 65 years old, COPD and asthma, pneumonia while in BOP custody

United States v. Hansen,

2020 WL 1703672 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 8, 2020)

  • COVID-19 pandemic and medical problems justifies 7-month reduction in sentence

United States v. Moskowitz,

2020 WL 2187770, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. May 5, 2020)

  • “Defendant suffers from Scimitar’s Syndrome, a birth defect which caused him to be born with an undeveloped right lung due to his heart shifting to his right side during prenatal development. As a result, Defendant lives with one functional lung.”
  • Sentenced in August 2014 to 151 months, oxycodone and money laundering

United States v. Quintero,

2020 WL 2175171, at *2 (W.D.N.Y. May 6, 2020)

  • 12-month sentence, hypertension, obesity, diabetes
  • Decision is consistent with both the recently enacted CARES Act and with the forceful Memorandum from the Attorney General of the United States
  • Notes not many years left

United States v. Johnson,

2020 WL 2515856, at *13 (D.D.C. May 16, 2020)

  • “Moreover, under the circumstances presented in this case, it is clear to the Court that continued detention would now be greater than necessary to comply with the purposes of punishment, based on the Court’s reexamination of the section 3553(a) factors and the Sentencing Commission’s stated policy concerns about the release of dangerous offenders.”
  • Case “fits squarely within the intended scope of the First Step Act’s compassionate-release authorization”
  • Inmate was vet, no priors, PTSD, weapons offenses after trial
  • 41-month sentence starting April 2019
  • High blood pressure and PTSD, “also just shy of the severe-obesity threshold”
  • Pulmonary hypertension and obesity

United States v. Young,

2020 WL 2514673 (D. Mass., May 15, 2020)

  • 41 years old, asthma and obesity
  • Danbury, 30-month sentence, has served 23 months, scheduled release December 31, 2020

United States v. Ardila,

2020 WL 2097736 (D Conn. May 1, 2020)

  • Ice detainer
  • 71 years old, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc

Casey v. United States,

2020 WL 2297184 (ED Va. May 6, 2020)

  • 76 y/o, heart condition

United States v. Howard,

2020 WL 2200855 (ED NC May 6, 2020)

  • Obesity and other issues, Butner

United States v. Coles,

2:00-cr-20051-SEM-TSH, Dkt. 238 (C.D. Ill., April 24, 2020)

  • Elkton inmate, 293-month sentence in 2002, hypertension, prediabetic, bladder issues, 19 years of 24-year sentence

United States v. Garcia,

2:95-cr-00142-JPS, Dkt. 196 (E.D. Wisc., March 27, 2020)

  • 296 months of 360-month sentence, career offender due to 1971 conviction
  • Over 65 years old, served at least 10 years, serious medical conditions

United States v. Haney,

1:19-cr-00541-JSR, Dkt. 27 (S.D.N.Y., April 13, 2020)

  • 33 months of 42 month sentence at MDC
  • 61 years old
  • Waives exhaustion, long analysis by Rakoff
  • Relatively in good health but has history of substance abuse

United States v. Morgan,

4:92-cr-04013-WS-CAS, Dkt. 2337 (N.D. Fla., April 27, 2020)

  • Life sentence originally, resentenced to 420 months and 420 months, had finished 288 months, release June 2022
  • Discusses Andre Williams dying before his release
  • Sick cell disease

United States v. Park,

16-cr-473 (S.D.N.Y., April 24, 2020)

  • Asthma and immune-compromising diseases, 44 years old
  • Danbury inmate caught in shifting BOP guidelines, set transfer for April 30
  • “Given the undisputed severity of Ms. Park’s health condition and the acute danger presented to her by continuing to be housed at FCI Danbury, the Court can no longer wait for Ms. Park to be released.”
    • Ordered immediate release
  • Defrauded 40 individuals of $23 million
  • 3553 – nonviolent, little risk of recidivating, tutors other women and rehabilitative efforts
  • Served about half her sentence

United States v. Reddy,

2020 WL 2320093 (E.D. Mich. May 11, 2020)

  • 30 month sentence for healthcare fraud
  • 73 years old, diabetes, hypertension, orthopedic problems
  • FMC Carswell

United States v. Perez,

No. 1:17-cr-513-AT, Dkt. No. 98 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 1, 2020)

  • “The benefits of keeping [Perez] in prison for the remainder of his sentence are minimal, and the potential consequences of doing so are extraordinarily grave”

United States v. Tran,

8:08-cr-00197-DOC, Dkt. 405 (C.D. Cal., April 10, 2020)

  • Hobbs Act robbery, firearms, 15 year sentence, had served “vast majority”
  • Asthma since childhood
  • Oakdale
  • Case manager declined to accept request, “a refusal to accept a request for release, as Defendant has proffered occurred here, should not ‘deprive him of judicial review…The Court finds that Defendant’s multiple attempts to request release from the BOP, and the lack of action taken to adjudicate such a request, is a constructive denial of his request.”

United States v. Connell,

2020 WL 2315858 (N.D. Cal. May 8, 2020)

  • Started 12 month sentence in October 28, 2019, would be transferred to RCC June 9, 2020, finish September 2020
  • Lompoc
  • Waives exhaustion, notes split across the country
  • Notes government has conceded jurisdictional and mandatory rule in several cases

United States v. Al-Jumail,

2020 WL 2395224 (E.D. Mich. May 12, 2020)

  • 120-month sentence, release date March 19, 2014 (served more than half)
  • Healthcare fraud
  • 60 years old, Fort Dix, coronary arterial disease, diabetes, retinal disease, HBP, heart stints
  • Waives administrative remedies based on threat to health
  • Non-violent, took advantage of beneficial prison programs, “evidence of post-sentencing rehabilitation may sometimes support a downward departure during a resentencing.
  • Finds that COVID-19 and medical condition fit under 1B1.13
  • Holds that it has authority to modify sentence to home confinement

United States v. Ramirez,

2020 WL 2404858 (D. Mass. May 12, 2020)

  • MDC inmate; 2 inmates and 9 staff testing positive
  • Finds 1B1.13 not-binding
  • Language regarding “particularized” risk, not just general threat; “Where particularized conditions do exist, compassionate release is more appropriate.”
  • Waives exhaustion, “The COVID-19 crisis is the kind of situation where an exception to the exhaustion requirement applies”
  • 57 y/o, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol
  • Had served 43 months of 66-month sentence for fentanyl, no history of violence

United States v. Hunt,

2020 WL 2395222 (E.D. Mich. May 12, 2020)

  • 30-month sentence, FCI Milan, served 30% of his sentence; release date July 2021
  • Identity fraud
  • 30-year-old defendant, congestive heart failure, diabetes, asthma, obesity, sleep apnea, hospitalized multiple times while incarcerated for respiratory emergencies and heart failure, x-ray showed fluid in lungs
  • Was quarantined in special unit
  • Waives exhaustion
  • Criminal history – risk to health and availability of conditions of release outweigh recidivism risk and long criminal history, two armed robberies and drug trafficking crimes

United States v. Rivernider,

2020 WL 2393959 (D. Conn. May 12, 2020)

  • 144-month sentence for wire fraud, started in 2013, 50% of his sentence (65% with credit for good time)
    • Acknowledges wire fraud was “unusually long”
  • 54 y/o, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, underwent bypass surgery while in custody

United States v. Velencia,

2020 WL 2319323 (S.D.N.Y. May 11, 2020)

  • Danbury inmate
  • Sentenced to 120 months on November 2016
  • Heart disease, HBP, seizures, anxiety, heart attack in 2018
  • Waives exhaustion, analysis under “administrative law principles” and separately under equitable principles

United States v. Simpson,

2020 WL 2323055 (N.D. Cal. May 11, 2020)

  • 120-month sentence starting March 2013, oxycodone distribution, Release Date is September 2021, has served 80% of sentence
  • 62 y/o, asthma and diabetes
  • Waives exhaustion
  • Government opposes on exhaustion but does not oppose on the merits

United States v. Foreman,

2020 WL 2315908 (D. Conn. May 11, 2020)

  • Starting 12-month sentence on February 2020
  • Holds 1B1.13 is not binding
  • 58 y/o inmate at Danbury, hypertension and obesity, no COVID-19 cases at the camp at Danbury where inmate is
    • Court agrees with defendant that staff move between the two
  • Extraordinary and compelling reasons exist when a defendant shows he or she has “pre-existing health conditions—respiratory conditions in particular—in combination with the increased risks of COVID-19 in prison”
  • “First-time offender of a non-violent offense”

United States v. Joseph,

2020 WL 2315806 (N.D. Cal. May 8, 2020)

  • Over 60 years old “and suffers from lung scarring resulting from coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever”
  • False statement for passport, sentenced to 12 months starting January 2020; at Atwater
  • Sent email to warden who told him to see the unit team, so he filled out BP form; court continued to let the BOP process play out
    • BOP denied furlough but was selected for home confinement

United States v. Barenechea,

2020 WL 2315638 (N.D. Cal. May 7, 2020)

  • Life sentence to time served
  • Nonviolent drug offense, due to stacked 924(c) counts, 28 years already served, “record of rehabilitation,” risk due to age and tuberculosis

United States v. Ullings,

2020 WL 2394096 (ND Ga. May 12, 2020)

  • 66 y/o, pleaded guilty in January 2020 for Antitrust, fix certain rates for air cargo
  • Waive exhaustion for defendant not in custody yet
  • 8-month sentence, at RAD
  • Finds 1B1.13 is not binding

Poulios v. United States,

2020 WL 1922775 (E.D. Va. Apr. 21, 2020)

  • Length criminal history of armed robbery and credit card fraud
  • Waives exhaustion, “The COVID-19 pandemic, which could result in catastrophic health consequences for petitioners vulnerable to infection, implicates all three exceptions justifying the waiver of the exhaustion.”
  • Finds 1B1.13 not binding
  • “Petitioner suffers from serious health conditions that would render him virtually defenseless if he were to become infected with COVID-19.”
  • Inmate at FCI Beckley

United States v. Atwi,

2020 WL 1910152 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 20, 2020)

  • FCI Milan
  • 4-month sentence, active tuberculosis when he filed
  • Discusses autistic kids and need to support
  • Government says it is already treating tuberculosis
  • Waives exhaustion, “The requirement states that if a defendant hears nothing from his warden about a compassionate-release motion in 30 days, he may proceed to court. See18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A). Thus, Congress contemplated that a defendant would be able to seek court redress quickly. But 30 days when the statute was passed and 30 days in the world of COVID-19 are very different. Congress likely did not contemplate that a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic would lead hundreds of federal prisoners to seek compassionate release all within a four-week window. Or, using Judge Rakoff’s words, “[b]ecause of the pandemic, prisoners have inundated the BOP with requests for release.”
  • And Atwi has been diagnosed with an infection, which, although it is not currently serious, could make him more susceptible to COVID-19 and serious health consequences. So in light of Atwi’s TB diagnosis and the serious dangers caused by the spread of COVID-19 in prison facilities, Atwi has met his burden of demonstrating that compelling and extraordinary reasons justify compassionate release.

United States v. Gileno,

2020 WL 1916773 (D. Conn. Apr. 20, 2020)

  • Began 12-month sentence on January 2020, at FCI Schuylkill, would be eligible for HC in October 2020
  • Asthma and other respiratory issues, has had multiple bouts of pneumonia
  • Waives exhaustion
  • “Even a few weeks’ delay carries the risk of catastrophic health consequences for [Mr.] McCarthy.

United States v. Joling,

2020 WL 1903280 (D. Ore. Apr. 17, 2020)

  • 2015 offense got 97 months; 2016 offense got 6 months consecutive
  • Has served 56 months at Butner
  • 30 days passed
  • 13 not binding
  • Hypertension, atherosclerosis, obesity, prostate cancer
  • Court is “sympathetic to the efforts made by the BOP to combat this outbreak, that response has been insufficient as evidenced by the number of infections and deaths which have already occurred in federal custodial institutions”

United States v. Hansen,

2020 WL 1703672 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 8, 2020)

  • COVID-19 pandemic and medical problems justify 7- month reduction in sentence

United States v. Lacy,

2020 WL 2093363 (C.D. Ill. May 1, 2020)

  • severe obesity, hypertension, and diabetes
  • Projected release August 2020, 80 months from 2016 conviction
  • Forrest City Low, Blount’s Disease

United States v. Trent,

Case No. 16-cr-178, ECF No. 106 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 9, 2020)

  • Obesity, HIV, diabetes

United States v. Logan,

1:12-cr-307, Dkt. No. 179 (N.D.N.Y. Apr. 22, 2020)

  • granting compassionate release to 58 years old w/ diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and coronary artery disease

United States v. Anderson,

2020 WL 2521513 (C.D. Ill., May 18, 2020)

  • 96-month sentence, release date May 12, 2021, Forrest City
  • High blood pressure, tested negative for COVID-19 on May 16, 2020
  • “The spread of COVID-19 presents extraordinary and unprecedented challenges for the country and creates a serious issue for prisons. Due to the infectious nature of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state governments have advised individuals to practice good hygiene and social distancing and isolation. Socially distancing can be difficult for individuals living or working in a prison.”
  • Waiving exhaustion

United States v. Cotinola,

2020 WL 2526717 (D.N.M., May 18, 2020)

  • 12-year sentence, release date July 2024
  • 53 y/o, Heart attack, neuropathy, diabetes, hepatitis C, kidney failure,
  • Significant amount of meth, significant criminal history including violence against women

United States v. Lee,

2020 WL 2512415 (N.D. Cal., May 15, 2020)

  • Asthma, moderate to severe, didn’t have access to inhaler, asthma since he was 12, hospitalized due to it at age 16
  • 12-month sentence, release July 2020

United States v. Handy,

2020 WL 2487371 (D. Conn., May 14, 2020)

  • RDAP counts towards time
  • Release date February 2021, sentenced to 150 months in November 2011
  • Talks about his course work and being a good student; RDAP was rescinded
  • 53 years old, congestive heart failure, hypertension, obesity, “chronic knee issues for which he receives immunosuppressant steroid injections”
  • At Wyatt Detention Center, “dozens of confirmed COVID cases”

United States v. Ginsberg,

2020 WL 2494643 (N.D. Ill., May 14, 2020)

  • Time served conditioned on modification of the terms of his supervised release to include home confinement and location monitoring
  • Fraud defendant, charged in 2014, pleaded in 2018
  • 55-56 years old
  • Reported to prison in June 2019, 33 months in prison

United States v. Agomuoh,

2020 WL 2526113 (E.D. Mich., May 18, 2020)

  • 69 years old, hypertensive heart disease, diabetes, glaucoma
  • Morgantown, 60-month sentence
  • As of May 2020, had served 9 months of 60-month sentence

United States v. Plunk,

Case No. 3:94-cr-36-TMB (D. Alaska Apr. 9, 2020)

United States v. Coker,

3:14-cr-00085-RLJ-DCP, Dkt. 869 (E.D. Tenn., April15, 2020)


United States v. Chestnut,

6:09-cr-06071-DGL-MWP, Dkt. 923, 925 (W.D.N.Y, April 29, 2020)

  • waiving exhaustion requirement and granting release to inmate with no medical conditions

United States v. Kelly,

3:13-cr-00059-CWR-LRA, Dkt. 145 (S.D. Miss., May 1, 2020)

  • waiving exhaustion and granting release to Oakdale I inmate


US v. Fischman,

4:16-cr-00246, Dkt. 76 (N.D. Cal., May 1, 2020), releasing inmate from Terminal Island who tested positive

  • Notes RDAP and halfway house shortens length of time to serve
  • 72 year old first time offender, 72 month sentence
  • Notes government contradicting itself, “case-by-case approach…results in arbitrary differences in the treatment of similarly-situated defendants”
    • “The government’s interpretation of § 3582(c) should not change based on whether an inmate is incarcerated in New York or California.”

US v. Razzouk,

1:11-cr-00430, Dkt. 136 (EDNY) – releasing inmate who tested positive, has COPD

  • Excusing failure to exhaust
  • BOP was already releasing him, “additional time in prison risks denying Razzouk timely and adequate access to medical care that he may require, in light of his diagnosis” and “exposing him a second time to the virus”

United States v. Kringlstein,

No. 16-cr-633, ECF No. 60 (D.N.M. Apr. 27, 2020)

United States v. Huntley,

No. 13-cr-119-ABJ, ECF No. 263, at 10 (D.D.C. May 5, 2020).

See Jed Rakkouf’s letter, article, Covid and the Courts

  • However, the application of this policy to actual prisoners has been slow and accompanied by strange conditions, such as that the prisoner must be quarantined for fourteen days before his release, in case he has somehow already contracted Covid-19 (in which case he will not be released even though he might receive far better treatment outside).

Yeury J.S. v. Decker,

Case No. 2:20-cv-5071-KM, Dkt. No. 20 (D.N.J. May 11, 2020)

  • Releasing immigration detainee who tested positive, TRO

United States v. Bacon,

7:16-cr-00002-JL-TQL, Dkt. 537 (M.D. Ga., May 1, 2020)

  • COVID-19 positive, at Butner
  • Went back and forth due to shifting BOP guidelines

United States v. Barber,

2020 WL 2404679 (D. Ore. May 12, 2020)

  • Drug offense, 60 months starting in August 2019
  • Served 8.5 months, at Lompoc, projected release date is January 2024
  • Regarding 1B1.13, courts are “not constrained by the BOP’s determination,” notes “a majority of federal district courts”
  • Hypertension, obesity, diabetes
  • Hospital Care Unit at Lompoc not a sufficient measure
  • Government concedes “if an inmate has a chronic medical condition that has been identified by the CDC as elevating the inmate’s risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 that condition may satisfy the standard of ‘extraordinary and compelling reasons’
  • Was sentenced above the Guidelines due to mandatory minimum of 5 years
  • Rejects 14-day request, orders immediate release and cites other courts that have immediately released inmates
  • Has tested positive for COVID-19

United States v. Sholler,

2020 WL 2512416 (N.D. Cal., May 15, 2020)

  • Terminal Island, 73-year-old, Parkinson, sinusis, diabetes, colitis, COVID-19 positive


United States v. Brannan,

2020 WL 1698392, at *1 (S.D. Tex. Apr. 2, 2020)

  • Release of defendant who had only served 9 months of a 36 months Sentence for Fraud, based on “extraordinary and compelling circumstances.”

United States v. Delgado,

3:18-cr-00017-VAB, Dkt. 76 (D. Conn., April 30, 2020)

  • Defendant only 29 months into 120-month sentence

United States v. Echevarria,

2020 WL 2113604, at *3 (D. Conn., May 4, 2020)

  • Defendant had asthma, 9 months into 48-month sentence
  • Despite “substantial criminal record”
  • “Strong pretrial adjustment” and “substantial rehabilitative efforts” prior to imposition of the sentence


United States v. Hansen,

2020 WL 2219068, at *2 (N.D. Ill. May 7, 2020)

  • Hansen was and would reasonably be expected to be Mr. Hansen’s primary caregiver

United States v. Kataev,

Case No. 1:16-cr-763-LGS, Dkt. No. 778 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 14, 2020)

  • 51-year-old defendant suffering from “chronic sinusitis” and whose wife is disabled such that she cannot care for their 10-year-old child
  • “Defendant’s unique health and family circumstances together, and in light of the COVID-19 public health crisis, constitute ‘extraordinary and compelling reasons’ to modify Defendant’s sentence”

United States v. Reyes,

2020 WL 1663129, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 3, 2020)

  • Further, Reyes attached a letter from an aunt who has stage four cancer and who notes that managing her care has been difficult for the Reyes family. She writes that “[Reyes’s] help is desperately needed.” () The policy statement’s third condition mentions only a spouse or dependent children, but the Court again notes that the “other” condition is meant to give discretion and especially recognize non-traditional family arrangements and the need for others in the family to contribute when a relative is sick. Thus, Reyes’s family circumstances contribute to allowing the Court to make a finding that extraordinary and compelling circumstances exist.
  • Finally, although rehabilitation alone cannot be an extraordinary and compelling circumstance, see 28 U.S.C. § 994(t), the Court is entitled to consider rehabilitation and give it appropriate analytical weight. The Court finds that Reyes has compiled an impressive record of rehabilitation.

United States v. Brewington, Jr.,

2:12-cr-00009-JPJ, Dkt. 279 (W.D. Va., May 11, 2020)

  • Release date November 2020
  • Incapacity of his mother, who is caretaker to his daughter, and COVID