After two court hearings and hours of arguing with prosecutors, our firm succeeded in persuading a federal judge in San Diego to grant our client’s motion for an early release from prison. Our client will soon be reunited with his family and serve the rest of his sentence on home confinement.
Our client has significant heart problems and other medical conditions that the CDC has identified as raising the risk of developing a serious or fatal illness from coronavirus. He was being held at the BOP’s facility at Terminal Island, a facility that lived up to its name as the COVID-19 pandemic infected over half of its inmates and killed at least 10 of them.
What made this case unique is that our client had already tested positive for COVID-19, was placed in isolation for 14 days, and was released back to his unit and deemed “recovered” after he stopped showing symptoms. He was never re-tested, however, and another inmate at Terminal Island had recently died of COVID-19 after being deemed “recovered.”
Citing medical research and other cases across the country, our firm was able to persuade the judge that our client was still in danger of getting severely sick from COVID-19. Given the lack of re-testing, the BOP could not confirm that our client had actually recovered from COVID-19, and even if he had, the relevant medical studies showed that he could still get re-infected.
One message to take from this case is that inmates still have legitimate reasons for seeking release from prison after they’ve contracted COVID-19. Depending on their conditions of confinement and health issues, they may still have good reasons justifying their release even after they have been deemed “recovered” by the BOP.
Our firm has handled and continues to handle several “compassionate release” cases from across the country. The key to success in these cases is diligence in obtaining BOP records, knowing the applicable law and standards in these cases, and understanding the judge’s perspective and decisions in similar cases.