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April 2, 2020

Prominent federal defendants getting out of prison or delaying entry as a consequence of COVID-19

Here are some notable headlines and basics about some notable federal defendants who have convinced judges, quite sensibly, to allow them to avoid the COVID petri dishes that are federal prisons:

"Tekashi 6ix9ine to be ‘immediately’ released from prison amid coronavirus":

A Manhattan federal court judge has ordered rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine released from federal custody and into home confinement amid the coronavirus outbreak in New York, according to court papers unsealed Thursday.

The order by Judge Paul Engelmayer said the rapper-turned-snitch should be released “immediately” from the private prison in Queens where he is being held in the custody of US Marshals.

The former rapper will serve his first four months in “home incarceration” at an address approved by his probation officer, Engelmayer wrote. He’ll be tracked by GPS. “The defendant must remain at his residence except to seek any necessary medical treatment or to visit his attorney, in each instance with prior notice and approval by the Probation Department,” Engelmayer wrote.

"Former Rep. Chris Collins' prison term delayed due to coronavirus"

A federal judge on Thursday granted former New York Rep. Chris Collins's request to delay the start of his prison sentence for securities fraud by two months after Collins cited concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and its threat to inmates. Collins, a Western New York Republican who had been scheduled to report to prison for a 26-month sentence on April 21, is now set to begin his sentence June 23.

Collins's request came as many inmates and those facing prison sentences have asked to be released from confinement or to delay their sentences out of fear that incarceration creates particularly ripe conditions for the rapid spread of the virus. Those requests have yielded mixed results.

Attorneys for the 69-year-old former congressman, who pleaded guilty in October 2019 to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of making a false statement, had told the court they believe he is in a high-risk category to contract the virus, due to his age and "additional" factors.

Kudos to these judges for making the smart public health decision to keep these folks out of federal prisons for now. I hope a whole lot of less prominent federal defendants get similar treatment in the days and weeks ahead.

April 2, 2020 at 05:54 PM | Permalink


Again and again, I read in the news that AG Barr has provided the direction to BOP to act so I'm not sure what is the delay by BOP. More inmates have been found in Louisiana minimum facility prison to be infected with the virus. I hope BOP wakes up soon else they are going to have murder on their hands and this is not the first time.

When inmates ask their unit manager and warden at this one place I know, they have been told that Barr is not our boss and we have not being provided any direction from their direct boss at BOP. So it seems that warden(s) have been passing the buck around and no one wants to own this. Wardens have cancelled open houses and have told inmates to talk to their unit managers who are never around lately. No officers seem to be working at camps. Videos and phone calls should be unlimited more now and should have been before too.

This is cruel and unusual punishment.

Posted by: AJ | Apr 2, 2020 7:46:53 PM

This is an outrage and total neglect for the BOP doing nothing to release these people, especially non-violent offenders. We have a mass incarceration problem to begin with and now have a solution especially since a lot of people, especially women are in there on "statement" drug amounts "ghost drugs" to begin with. How is this constitutional sentencing people for amounts of drugs that were "seen" by other defendants? They need to act NOW before this country goes bankrupt from lawsuits of 1000's of sick and dead inmates take hold. In the women's facilities they are on lockdown with 300+ other inmates because there are no doors or toilets in their rooms, just waiting for everyone of them to get sick. FMC Carswell is a medical facility filled with sick women who will die if they get the Virus, I am blown away by the lack of care and competence.

Posted by: Randy | Apr 3, 2020 12:09:01 AM

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