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April 9, 2020

A few more COVID-influenced grants of sentence reductions using § 3582(c)(1)(A)

As highlighted via posts here and here, there is a growing number of federal court decisions granting sentence reductions using § 3582(c)(1)(A) because of the "extraordinary and compelling" public health crisis created by COVID-19.  But, as the as the number of requests for sentence reductions using § 3582(c)(1)(A) are growing, so to are rejections or deferrals of these motions (many of which are now based on the procedural issue flagged in this post).  Because I cannot provide a comprehensive accounting of all these rulings, I will here just report a few more of the sentence reduction orders I found on Westlaw from this week so far:

United States v. McCarthy, No. 3:17-CR-0230 (JCH), 2020 WL 1698732 (D. Conn. Apr. 8, 2020) ("Thus, in light of the urgency of McCarthy’s request, the likelihood that he cannot exhaust his administrative appeals during his remaining 26 days of imprisonment, and the potential for serious health consequences, the court waives the exhaustion requirement of section 3582(c)(1)(A).... The defendant’s age and medical condition, taken in concert taken in concert with the COVID-19 public health crisis, constitute an extraordinary and compelling reason to reduce McCarthy’s sentence.")

United States v. Hansen, No. 07-CR-00520 (KAM), 2020 WL 1703672 (EDNY Apr. 8, 2020) ("Mr. Hansen’s medical risk from the COVID-19 pandemic, taken alone, arguably constitutes 'extraordinary and compelling' circumstances justifying his release.  As discussed above, however, Mr. Hansen’s circumstances are 'extraordinary and compelling' without regard to risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.... Requiring Mr. Hansen to serve out the rest of his sentence, which, in any event, may amount to no more than seven additional months, would be 'greater than necessary to serve the purposes' of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(2).")


UPDATE on morning of 4/10Westlaw now has one additional sentence reduction grant, and I also received another one via email last night:

United States v. Trent, No. 16-cr-00178-CRB-1, 2020 WL 1812242 (ND Cal. Apr. 9, 2020) ("Trent suffers from a number of serious physical or medical conditions including HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and obesity, from which he is not expected to recover. The Court finds that in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, these medical conditions, which render Trent uniquely vulnerable to serious illness if he contracts COVID-19, substantially diminish his ability “to provide self-care within the environment of a correctional facility.”)

United States v. Plunk, No. 3:94-cr-36-TMB (D Alaska Apr. 9, 2020) (available here) ("In this case, Defendant qualifies for compassionate release due to his medical conditions and age, particularly in light of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and time spent in custody, as well as his remarkable history of rehabilitation while in custody and several prior recommendations by his wardens, the U.S. Probation office, and Judge Sedwick to reduce or commute his sentence."): Download Plunk Compassionate Relief order


In this prior post, I also flagged United States v. Decator, No. CCB-95-0202, 2020 WL 1676219 (D. Md. April 6, 2020) and United States v. Millan, No. 91-CR-685 (LAP), 2020 WL 1674058 (SDNY April 6, 2020), neither of which is focus on COVID issues, but both of which are rulings in favor of the defendant and now appear in Westlaw.  Also, a helpful reader sent me this "string cite" of just some of the pro-defendant rulings last week:

See United States v. Williams, No. 04-cr-95, Dkt. No. 91 (N.D. Fla. April 1, 2020) (granting § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i) motion “in light of [the defendant’s] serious deterioration in physical health and the increasing health risks that the current global pandemic of coronavirus (COVID-19) poses to incarcerated persons, particularly those with underlying health conditions.”); United States v. Gonzales, No. 18-cr-0232, 2020 WL 1536155 (E.D. Wash. Mar. 31, 2020) (“Defendant is the most susceptible to the devastating effects of COVID-19. She is in the most susceptible age category (over 60 years of age) and her COPD and emphysema make her particularly vulnerable . . . The Court was aware of Defendant’s underlying medical condition and took that into consideration at the time of sentencing. In normal times, Defendant’s condition would be manageable. These are not normal times, however.”); United States v. Marin, No. 15-cr-252, Dkt. No. 1326 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 2020) (granting § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i) motion based on defendant’s “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. Muniz, No. 09-cr-199, Dkt. No. 578 (S.D. Tex. Mar. 30, 2020) (releasing defendant serving 188-month sentence for drug conspiracy in light of vulnerability to COVID-19: “[W]hile the Court is aware of the measures taken by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, news reports of the virus’s spread in detention centers within the United States and beyond our borders in China and Iran demonstrate that individuals housed within our prison systems nonetheless remain particularly vulnerable to infection.”); United States v. Powell, No. 94-cr-00316 (D.D.C. Mar. 28, 2020) (granting § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i) motion in light of COVID-19 pandemic for a “[d]efendant [who] is 55-years-old, suffers from several respiratory problems (including sleep apnea and asthma), and has only 3 months remaining on his 262-month sentence.”); United States v. Campagna, No. 16-cr-78-01, 2020 WL 1489829 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 27, 2020) (“Defendant’s compromised immune system, taken in concert with the COVID-19 public health crisis, constitutes an extraordinary and compelling reason to modify to Defendant’s sentence . . . .”).

As I have said before, I am fairly confident that this list does not represent all, and I hope it does not even capture most, of the sentence reductions granted by federal district courts in the last few days.  Readers are encouraged to use the comments or to send me emails to supplement this list as new ruling are handed down or become available.

Prior recent related posts:

April 9, 2020 at 02:33 PM | Permalink


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