Learn how you can help ensure that the principle of due process endures this crisis
FAMM is providing multiple resources, particularly focused on the currently incarcerated. Families of incarcerated may request assistance.
The training division for the federal defenders is offering webinars and other resources to aid in the representation of people incarcerated during the crisis.
NCSC is tracking the response by state courts for jury trials, courthouse entrance, in-person proceedings, deadline extensions, and use of digital technology.
The Brennan Center is tracking formal policy changes of all federal, immigration, and state courts.
The Marshall Project is tracking how correctional systems are changing visitation policies in response to COVID-19.
NACDL is collecting resources to assist
attorneys with clients detained during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Deason Center is documenting how local criminal justice systems are responding to COVID-19.
NLADA is collecting resources to assist legal aid and defense attorneys in their representation of clients.
Fair Trials is tracking how criminal justice systems around the world are responding to COVID-19.
The federal defenders have drafted a template for motions to challenge the continued pretrial detention of defendants who are high risk given the CIVD-19 crisis.
Criminal Standing Order of March 22nd, 2020: The D.C. Superior Court has issued an order outlining the criteria judges should consider in evaluating filings requesting the immediate release of defendants on account of COVID-19.
We encourage other courts to do the same.
The New Jersey Supreme Court issued an order late Sunday night that will suspend or commute county jail sentences for low-risk inmates in light of the public health emergency caused by COVID-19. The order commutes or suspends county jail sentences currently being served by county jail inmates either as a condition of probation for an indictable offense or because of a municipal court conviction.
The ACLU of the District of Columbia and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia have sued the D.C. Department of Corrections for "unconstitutional conditions for all 1,600-plus individuals housed at the jail and its adjacent custodial treatment facility." The suit has received amicus support from the Fraternal Order of Police for the District of Columbia Department of Corrections.
The federal Bureau of Prisons has approved an individual convicted of fraud and tax evasion charges to serve the remainder of his five months sentence in home confinement. He had previously files a motion for release to home confinement in the District Court of New Jersey but asked to suspend this motion upon the BOP's approval.
"With increasingly limited access to public transportation, and the current health risks of using public transportation, it is more critical than ever that people are able to drive themselves and their dependents to work, hospitals, pharmacies, and grocery stores, regardless of their income."
Due Process Institute joined REFORM and a bipartisan group of advocacy organizations to provide early comprehensive recommendations for how governments could help prevent excess harm in light of COVID-19.
In the face of the COVID-19 crisis and the unique public health risk presented in our nation's jails and prisons, Due Process Institute was part of a bipartisan group calling on President Trump to utilize his clemency powers to commute the sentences of populations who are exceptionally vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Jonathan Blanks for Clause 40 Foundation
“The circumstances of American incarceration have changed, full stop. The mercy Justice Kennedy spoke of is needed to prevent the added cruelty this virus can wreak upon the incarcerated.”
"Despite our warnings—and those of Congress, policy groups, and public health and legal experts— the Department of Justice (DOJ) has failed to respond appropriately to this global pandemic. Instead, DOJ’s response rests on its view that that 'many inmates will be safer in BOP facilities.' DOJ has relied on this false premise to oppose release in a wide range of cases...."
TBPDA is collecting resources to assist legal aid and defense attorneys in the representation of their clients.
The Justice Collaborative is providing resources for activists, public officials, and journalists for use in confronting the
District of Massachusetts released an individual from pretrial detention because his asthma prevents him from “readily flee[ing] the district” and detention would pose a “very serious risk to his health.”
Citation: 2020 WL 1478307
Southern District of New York denied defendant's motion for release on bail after finding that COVID-19 did not serve as a "compelling reason" for release under federal law because it was a "generalized argument" in his circumstances. The court also noted his Sixth Amendment right to counsel was not violated by the Bureau of Prison's decision to suspend all legal visit for 30 days because such decision was reasonable "in light of the global pandemic and the threat it poses to inmates, residents of New York City, and the nation at large."
Citation: 2020 WL 1821717
District of Utah granted temporary pretrial release after finding that defendant's trial had been delayed twice, he is unable to privately consult with his attorney in the contracted jail, and COVID-19 poses a unique risk to him given his heart condition.
Citation: 2020 WL 1821717
The defendant filed a motion for compassionate release directly with the Third Circuit after denial of a similar motion by the District Court of New Jersey because the Third Circuit is considering an appeal of his initial sentence. The Third Circuit noted it cannot consider the motion because federal statute requires such motions to be considered by the sentencing court and noted that this motion should be denied because defendant failed to comply with the exhaustion requirements. The Third Circuit noted "mere existence of COVID-19 in society and the possibility that it may spread to a particular prison alone cannot independently justify compassionate release."
Citation: 2020 WL 1647922
District of Connecticut found that chronic health conditions alone do not serve as an "extraordinary and compelling" reason for the court to grant a compassionate release motion. The Court found that Mr. Jepsen was in a "unique position" given that he had less than eight weeks to serve on his sentence and this fact combined with his health condition serves as a “extraordinary and compelling” reasons to grant the motion for compassionate release.
Citation: 2020 WL 1640232
Northern District of California found that defendant did not waive his right to seek compassionate relief for an "extraordinary and compelling reason" in his plea agreement that promised he would not "seek relief under 18 U.S.C. § 3582” because that language did not exist at the time he entered the plea agreement with federal prosecutors. The court failed to grant the motion because the defendant had not met with exhaustion requirement in statute and failed to provide a compelling case to waive the requirement.
Citation: 2020 WL 1899401
Southern District of New York approved compassionate release motion for individuals after finding that COVID-19 serves as an exception to the exhaustion requirement located in federal law and serves as a “extraordinary and compelling reason" for sentence modification.
Citation: 2020 WL 1659880
Eastern District of Washington granted a motion for compassionate release for individual incarcerated in Spokane County Jail awaiting transfer to BOP because she is from the "most susceptible age category," medical condition makes her "particularly vulnerable," and "it is impossible to practice social distancing or isolation in a jail setting."
Citation: 2020 WL 1536155
Southern District of New York approved compassionate release motion for individual with three weeks remaining on sentence after finding that "pursuing the administrative process would be a futile endeavor" and his medical condition served as "'extraordinary and compelling reasons' to reduce his sentence to time served."
Citation: 2020 WL 1546422
Eastern District of Pennsylvania found that the policy statement of the United States Sentencing Commission serves as "'helpful guidance' but does not limit the Court's independent assessment of whether 'extraordinary and compelling reasons' exist" while granting compassionate release for individual at "high risk of grave illness or death if he gets infected with coronavirus."
Citation: 2020 WL 1627331
Southern District of New York approved defendant to serve remainder of sentence in home confinement upon the government's consent and finding the defendant's "compromised immune system, taken in concert with the COVID-19 public health crisis, constitutes an extraordinary and compelling reason."
Citation: 2020 WL 1489829
Southern District of Texas grants individual's motion for compassionate release upon finding that his medical condition presented an "extraordinary and compelling reason" and his reduced sentence "adequately expresses the seriousness of the offense, deters criminal conduct, and protects the public"
Citation: 2020 WL 1540325
Eastern District of Virginia denied defendant's motion for compassionate after finding he "still presents the same threats to the community today as were present at the time of his conviction" and "diminish[ed] his wrongdoing" in the motion.
Citation: 2020 WL 1889361
Eastern District of Michigan waived the exhaustion requirements for compassionate release after noting that the defendant had been denied release after petitioning "the BOP for compassionate release at least six times." The court found an "extraordinary and compelling reason" because her continued "incarceration under the current circumstances could be a lethal decision."
Citation: 2020 WL 1888842
Middle District of North Carolina granted compassionate release for an individual who was approved for release on home confinement by the Bureau of Prisons in a few weeks because of the existence of COVID-19 in his " very small home confinement quarantine population" and that there "is no evidence that Dunlap poses any danger to the community."
Citation: 2020 WL 1888842