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April 7, 2020

Pretty new BOP COVID-19 update page reports ugly new spike in COVID cases among federal inmates and staff

Sometime today, the federal Bureau of prisons updated its BOP's COVID-19 Update page.  The new page now has a map that now shows the "34 BOP facilities and 6 RRCs affected nationwide" by COVID_19 cases.  The page also report that as "04/07/2020, there are 241 federal inmates and 73 BOP staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 nationwide. There have been 8 federal inmate deaths and 0 BOP staff member deaths attributed to COVID-19 disease."  (Just two days ago, on April 5,  the page reported 138 federal inmates and 59 federal prison staffers had tested positive for the coronavirus).

This BOP page is now also reporting that "Since the release of the Attorney General's original memo to the Bureau of Prisons on March 26, 2020 instructing us to prioritize home confinement as an appropriate response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BOP has placed an additional 615 inmates on home confinement."

Meanwhile, the Daily Beast is reporting that "The Bureau of Prisons Just Bought a Ton of Hydroxychloroquine, Trump’s COVID-19 Miracle Drug"

April 7, 2020 at 05:49 PM | Permalink


I am a personal advisor (not lawyer) for a family that is well known in the entertainment industry. The Husband is scheduled to go in May 15th for 24 months. He was scheduled to go to a "camp" but just got notified they are sending him to another state.. Family will have a hard time visiting. The attorney is asking for more time to surrender due to all the circumstances. (He has 2 kids and another on the way). This is a financial crime - white colllar and he has no previous issues with the law.

Have you seen anything that allows Home Confinement due to Covid19? Has anyone tried to argue against surrendering and doing home confinement?
Any help would be appreciated.

Posted by: Gene | Apr 7, 2020 6:10:10 PM

Gene: In seeking help and guidance for your client, all you have to do is scroll down Professor Berman's Blog [Sentencing Law and Policy] and read his postings for the last few weeks. Many Judges and other officials have been letting people out of prison to home confinement and/ or extending reporting dates in light of the Caronavirus pandemic. You can also make simple Google searches to find articles referring to other individual case situations.
Ultimately, your client's attorney will have to file a Motion to get the Judge to extend his reporting date. One thing you need too know is that the Judge does not determine where any defendant will serve his sentence. Where and how the defendant serves his sentence is a decision that is made by the Executive Branch, the Bureau of Prisons, so your client's attorney probably needs to discuss this situation with the U.S. Attorney's Office and seek their help in communicating about your client with the Bureau of Prisons. If you want to discuss his situation further, you can e-mail me at james.gormley5@gmail.com with your contact information.

Posted by: James Gormley | Apr 8, 2020 8:50:02 AM

In the Northern District of TX, I’m involved in a case where the federal prosecutor is aware that the pretrial detainee is living on 1 lung with asthma and kidney disease. However she is unwilling to accept any conditions of release for him... The inmate is facing a 10 to life on drug trafficking charges. His attorney is trying to work both ends of the case in terms of saving his life...

Posted by: Shanta Paris | Apr 8, 2020 12:13:06 PM

Gene: The best example of what you want to see happen for your client is what a U.S. District Judge in the Southern District of New York did for (former) U.S. Representative Chris Collins (R. N.Y.) (age 69), who was convicted of insider trading and sentenced to serve 26 months in prison. You can easily Google and find articles on this case. After a written request made in a letter by defense counsel to the Judge, he extended Mr. Collins' "report date" for 60 days in light of his age and the risks from the Coronavirus. Does that work for you?

Posted by: James Gormley | Apr 8, 2020 12:19:19 PM

Shanta Paris: It sounds like they will end up having a contested detention hearing before a Magistrate Judge or a U.s. District Judge, who will make the ultimate decision about whether he can be released, and, if so, on what terms.

Posted by: James Gormley | Apr 8, 2020 12:21:05 PM

James, his attorney waived the initial detention hearing because the prosecutor was threatening enhancements, etc. She is aware that the attorney beat his last federal charges... Because the detainee is facing up to life in prison, the attorney he’s trying not to piss off the prosecutor... He is currently strategizing.

Posted by: Shanta Paris | Apr 8, 2020 12:53:01 PM

Shanta Paris: Given your description of the defendant's health problems, it doesn't sound like he has long to live anyway. Federal prosecutors can swing a big stick when they want to be bullies. I have seen it before. If the defendant has to remain in custody, he should ask to be held as a pre-trial detainee at the Federal Medical Center (FMC) located in Dallas, where he can get proper care. This is where the former governor of Louisiana, Edwin Edwards, served most of his time. His defense lawyer would just need to make sure that he has regular and easy access to his client at the FMC. With jails and prisons effectively on lockdown, he might otherwise have to settle for phone calls or video visits.

Posted by: James Gormley | Apr 8, 2020 4:07:33 PM

James, you’re spot on as I made that suggestion yesterday to ask for him to be transferred to Ft Worth FMC. The only concern with that is, that county has higher COVID 19 numbers than the county’s jail he’s currently in. I’m going to go over both sides of the coin(s) with him.

Posted by: Shanta Paris | Apr 8, 2020 4:24:16 PM

Shanta Paris: I have to think that he would be better off at a Federal Medical Center (effectively, a prison hospital), where his medical issues would receive prompt daily treatment, than at any county jail or other facility. We have a Federal Medical Center here in Lexington, Kentucky, where I live, and I am familiar with how they operate and the level of care they are capable of providing. An issue that came to my mind recently is to ask you whether this defendant was out on any kind of bail during his last Federal criminal case, which you stated his lawyer defeated for him (presumably at a trial)? If he has a prior track record of being out on bond during a Federal criminal case and he didn't abscond or violate his conditions of release, that would be a strong indicator to his Judge that he should be released on bond now, particularly given his medical condition and the Coronavirus pandemic. His prosecutor sounds like a barbarian.

Posted by: James Gormley | Apr 8, 2020 9:10:09 PM

James, the attorney was going to bring up every point you just made, at the initial detention hearing. The case was effectively over when he cross examined the ATF agent at the previous detention hearing! With the agent on the stand, he provided proof of an unlawful entry, illegal search and seizure... He filed a motion for dismissal after the hearing which the judge granted.
Prosecutor bought out her big bully stick and took a wack (a new Superseding indictment) at the defendant today. Attorney stated he doesn’t want to win the battle (bond) and lose the war (life sentence) but has an idea in mind...

Posted by: Shanta Paris | Apr 8, 2020 10:03:59 PM

Shanta Paris: Ah, he embarrassed her and the ATF Agent. She wants vindication and revenge; and she has a huge but insecure ego. This will be a complex chess game.

Posted by: James Gormley | Apr 10, 2020 1:17:29 AM

James, it was a different prosecutor but the sentiment is still the same...
Complex, absolutely.

Posted by: Shanta Paris | Apr 10, 2020 9:19:33 AM

Shanta Paris: Please e-mail me and let me know how things develop for your defendant. james.gormley5@gmail.com Thanks for our exchanges here.

Posted by: James Gormley | Apr 10, 2020 9:54:17 AM

James, sure thing!

Posted by: Shanta Paris | Apr 10, 2020 12:44:47 PM

Our son is in THE Lexington and has only 9 months left until his release. In 2 months he was supposed to go to a halfway house. He is being told that because he is medium security and has to register as a sex offender he cannot be released to home confinement. He is in prison for felon in posession. His first case was when he was 19. There was a little over 3 years difference in his age and the girls. We don't understand why they are releasing inmates with 20-30 year sentences to home confinement and not him. By the way how do you get a twenty to 30 year sentence and minimum security? Sounds messed up to me!!!

Posted by: Mary James | May 1, 2020 9:49:45 AM

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