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March 23, 2020

Notable recent (pre-COVID) grants of sentence reductions from coast to coast using § 3582(c)(1)(A) ... as FAMM urges thousand more filings in response to coronavirus

As regular readers know, in lots of prior posts since enactment of the FIRST STEP Act, I have made much of a key provision that Act which allows federal courts to directly reduce sentences under the (so-called compassionate release) statutory provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) without awaiting a motion by the Bureau of Prisons.  I have long considered this provision a big deal because I have long thought that, if applied appropriately and robustly, this provision could and should enable many hundreds (and perhaps many thousands) of federal prisoners to have excessive prison sentences reduced.

A few weeks ago before the COVID-19 outbreak became the most urgent of stories, I was starting to notice on Westlaw a growing number of rulings granting sentencing reductions using 3582(c)(1)(A).  I was drafting a detailed post on this topic when COVID started taking up all of my attention, but it now seems wise to just list some of the positive cases from the last few weeks:

United States v. O’Bryan, No. 96-10076-03-JTM, 2020 WL 869475 (D. Kan. Feb 21, 2020)

United States v. Mondaca, No. 89-CR-0655 DMS, 2020 WL 1029024 (S.D. Cal. March 3, 2020)

United States v. Young, No. 2:00-cr-00002-1, 2020 WL 1047815 (M.D. Tenn. March 4, 2020)

United States v. Davis, No. PJM 00-424-2, 2020 WL 1083158 (D. Md. March 5, 2020)

United States v. Perez, No. No. 88-10094-1-JTM, 2020 WL 1180719 (D. Kansas March 11, 2020)

United States v. Redd, No. 1:97-cr-00006-AJT 2020 WL 1248493 (E.D. Va. Mar. 16, 2020)

I felt compelled to post this list tonight because of notable news from FAMM detailed in this press release titled "FAMM urges most vulnerable people in federal prison to immediately apply for compassionate release":

 In response to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, FAMM sent a letter to nearly 40,000 federal prisoners today encouraging all federal prisoners who are most vulnerable to immediately apply for early release.  FAMM is working with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs to assist those who apply.

“There are thousands of sick and elderly people in federal prison whose continued incarceration serves no public safety purpose.  This same population is the most vulnerable to coronavirus,” said FAMM President Kevin Ring.  “They were not sentenced to death, and they should be released immediately.”

Ring noted that people in prison cannot take the same precautions that health experts have recommended to avoid contracting the virus.  People in federal prison can’t practice social distancing.  Moreover, the prisons are not clean and many do not have adequate medical care.

The Centers for Disease Control consider the most vulnerable to include people over 65 years old, and people with a condition that affects their lungs, heart, kidney, immune system, or who have another serious chronic medical condition.  There are more than 10,000 people in federal prison who are over 60 years old.  Many are in poor health.

FAMM worked with Congress to expand the compassionate release program in the First Step Act.  One of the most important reforms gave people in prison the right to go to federal court and ask a judge to grant compassionate release if the Bureau of Prisons either denies a request or does not answer a request within 30 days.

“We are urging at-risk people to make the request to their wardens immediately.  That starts the clock.  If Congress and the president don’t act before then, the courts will have the chance to do the right thing,” said Ring.

March 23, 2020 at 09:50 PM | Permalink


Thank you for this compilation of compassionate release cases! Excellent work!

Posted by: Mr. X | Mar 24, 2020 10:19:23 AM

This is nowhere near a complete list, but it is what I can get from Westlaw.

Posted by: Doug B. | Mar 24, 2020 11:35:42 AM

I'm the loved one of a federal inmate at yazoo low federal prison in yazoo Mississippi. I need help. Please. My loved one has been exposed to covid-19 and they denied his right to compassionate release due to his charges and he has been incarcerated for 16years after being forced into a plea of 20 years rather than life. For charges of racketeering and firearms in relation to murder. He has lost every direct memeber of his immediate family except 1 sister and 1 brother not to mention he has children that are still alive and that still love him very much. While incarserated he lost both biological parents( mother and father), brother, and both sets of grandparents. He has so many amazing accomplishments achieved during his incarceration until now. No evidence was presented deemed creditable proving his charge in relation to the crime in which he was sentenced for. He has only has minor disciplinary incidents,none of which incurred involving violence except 1 that occurred at previous facitliy. The ruling of his trial was unethical and also violating his right as a first time offender. There were3 people that were paid 25,000$ to lie on stand against him persuading the jury of a guilty verdict not giving him fairly or just trial.1 of the people that testified against him was a very well know drug trafficker as well as very unwell mentally that testified in retaliation due to my finances name and drug dealing status on the streets where they all lived and also where they engaged in the use of heavy drug use resulting in inability to be deemed as credible witness in his case. He doesn't deny the fact that he is guilty of all charges except the amount of drugs in which he was charged and the guns he was also charged. He has proof that he was in the hospital in acoma at the time forensics showed the couple that was murdered was said to have been pronounced dead. They coerced his plea to only agree to give him 20 year sentence rather than life. He agreed to 20 but the prosecutors gave him 30 which isn't what they agreed. He has served 16 of his 30 year sentence, that's long enough for someone that committed no violent crime at all. He broke the law yes but did not kill anyone in his case. This man is my finance/loved one I'm writing in regards to. I'm begging you and respectfully asking for any probono help and advice on what I need to do to start this transition of getting him released into a halfway house. He has to relearn how to contribute to a society that's advanced in everything that he is unfamiliar with. He is more than ready to put his criminal past behind him and live as a contributing remember of society and He should be allowed that right for a chance. He is a human being over the stereotype of a criminal and is fully ready and capable to show the world that He has changed into a mature respectful positive influence for society. He has chronic arthritis and I'm so scared that he's going to be left to die in there due to lack of acountabilty for justice for him in his accused crimes. Please help him. Help me. I apologize if this letter is drawn out but this is a very serious life threating situation.. Someone please help me saved my loved one from the broken FBOP system that so many other lives were lost.

Posted by: Selina Law+ | Apr 17, 2020 3:20:23 AM

I am looking for UNITED STATES VS. DINGLE 12-30098, my fiance is at yazoo city camp, MS and was sent an email of this case that was granted release, its from his sentencing district. He wanted to read the motion, because his lawyer is about to file a compassionate release motion for him in the same district. but i am unable to find this particular case.

Posted by: Kristin L | Apr 25, 2020 12:41:24 PM


Posted by: KRISTIN L | Apr 25, 2020 12:43:08 PM

Only federal, why not state? Texas is in need of help to stop TDCJ from violating eigth amendments rights of most every inmates!!!

Posted by: Stephanie M | May 15, 2020 4:14:30 AM

just type UNITED STATES VS. DINGLE 12-30098 in google search box. Click on the first link. Then you can email the case to yourself free.

Posted by: jim S | May 29, 2020 1:26:46 AM

In helping my friend do pro-se research;. his motion was denied for release under the CARES Act as the prosecuting atty claims the court does not have jurisdiction since his case is under appeal in federal court

1. CARES Act: can you find if and where it says prisoners over 60 who have done 50% can be released if requested by a director? And is it a regional director?

2. Can the sentencing judge release an inmate while the case is under appeal? Release pending appeal? It happens every day but the prosecutor is saying the judge has no jurisdiction. Need a case that shows he has jurisdiction and everyday people are released pending appeal.

-any help greatly appreciated

Posted by: Ken. McCoy | Jun 1, 2020 4:08:03 PM

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