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January 4, 2022: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE and BOP COVID-19 BLOG


Quick Facts (Full BOP stats can be found here) Currently positive-testing inmates: 1,736 (up from 1,516) Currently positive-testing staff: 601 (up from 511) Recovered inmates: 41,916 (up from 41,665) Recovered staff: 8,768 (up from 8,738)


Institutions with the largest number of currently positive-testing inmates:

Brooklyn MDC: 218 (up from 200)

Lexington FMC: 109

Carswell FMC: 103 (down from 112)

Institutions with the largest number of currently positive-testing staff:

Fairton FCI: 25 (up from 19)

Carswell FMC: 24 (up from 23)

Grand Prairie: 18

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 135,354federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 14,800 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 128,051 (up from 127,843) Positive tests: 43,266 (up from 42,791)


Total vaccine doses administered: 278,283 (up from 27,259)


Case Note: Alleged errors that can be raised on a pending direct appeal or via habeas cannot be deemed "extraordinary and compelling" ...


In U.S. v. RONNIE MARTIN, 2021 WL 6124746 (7th Cir. Dec. 28, 2021) (published) (per curium), the Seventh Circuit clarifies that defendant cannot litigate issues pending on direct appeal through a CR filed after sentencing, explaining: "Ronnie Martin was sentenced to 43 months' imprisonment for possessing heroin with the intent to distribute. 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). With his direct appeal of his sentence pending, Martin moved for compassionate release under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i), raising arguments available on direct appeal. … A court may not reduce a sentence under the compassionate-release statute unless a prisoner presents an extraordinary and compelling reason for release. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i). Martin is essentially arguing that the sentencing judge improperly weighed his arguments in mitigation and that this error warrants release. But because his direct appeal provides a means for him to present these arguments that—if correct—would warrant sentencing relief, he does not have an extraordinary and compelling reason for release now. That is why, in United States v. Thacker, we cautioned against reading the compassionate-release statute so broadly that it would allow an inmate to argue that release is warranted because a sentence “rests on a misguided view of the purposes of sentencing.” 4 F.4th 569, 574–75 (7th Cir. 2021). Martin cannot use a motion for compassionate release to challenge a potential error—now under review—in his sentence. To allow otherwise would circumvent the normal process for challenging potential sentencing errors, either through the direct appeal process or collaterally through a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion. See Thacker, 4 F.4th at 574. Thus, we conclude that a claim of errors in the original sentencing is not itself an extraordinary and compelling reason for release. But this conclusion does not limit a court, after a prisoner has presented an extraordinary and compelling reason for release, from reconsidering how it originally evaluated at sentencing a defendant's arguments in mitigation. When a prisoner has furnished an extraordinary and compelling reason for release, the second step of the court's analysis is whether the sentencing factors in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) weigh in favor of a reduced sentence. Thacker, 4 F.4th at 576. At that stage, in weighing those § 3553(a) factors, a district court may revisit how it balanced those factors at sentencing. See United States v. Saunders, 986 F.3d 1076, 1078 (7th Cir. 2021).”)


Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announces BOP COVID-related deaths here.) The BOP has identified inmate Gregory Ziglar, 62, of USP Lewisburg as the 274 COVID-related inmate fatality. Eleven of the inmates died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.

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