Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
 
Search

July 27, 2021: BOP COVID-19 AND COMPASSIONATE RELEASE UPDATE




Quick Facts: Currently positive-testing inmates: 216 (up from 214) Currently positive-testing staff: 152 (up from 137) Recovered inmates: 43,247 (down from 43,285) Recovered staff: 6,981 (up from 6,975) Institutions with the largest number of currently positive-testing inmates:

Texarcana FCI: 60 (up from 58)

McCreary USP: 28 (unchanged)

Houston FDC: 25 (unchanged)

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

Pollock: 11 (up from 7)

Brooklyn MDC: 5 (unchanged)

Coleman I USP: 5 (unchanged)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 130,589 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 14,209 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 118,158 (up from 117,483) Positive tests: 42,901 (up from 42,897)

Total Vaccine doses distributed: 203,684

Case Note: Sentenced to life in murder-for-hire case, court revisits previous denial of compassionate release and grants application...


In U.S. v. MANZOOR QADAR, 2021 WL 3087956 (E.D.N.Y. July 22, 2021) (Ross, J.), the court reconsidered its previous denial of defendant's life sentence, imposed in 2002 in murder-for-hire case and grants compassionate release to defendant serving a life sentence after finding its previous, partial reliance on 1B1.13 was misplaced, explaining: "[T]he Probation Department noted that I may want to depart from the Guidelines sentence of life imprisonment because of “serious coercion, blackmail or duress,” given that Mr. Qadar reportedly “became involved in the dispute between [Rahmet] and [Shaukat] because of threats made against [his] family by men who ‘have a notorious record of killing people.’ ” Id. ¶ 97. Despite these mitigating factors, I could not depart downward because I was statutorily required to sentence Mr. Qadar to life in prison under 18 U.S.C. § 1958. … Before sentencing, Mr. Qadar requested that I recommend him for the International Prisoner Transfer Program. … Subsequently, Mr. Qadar applied to the transfer program several times. ... In March 2019, having received a poignant letter from Mr. Qadar's youngest daughter, Juwairiah, pleading for her father's transfer to the UK, I wrote to the International Prisoner Transfer Unit of DOJ in support of Mr. Qadar's transfer application. … I noted that “[i]f I had discretion to impose a sentence I felt was appropriate, I would have sentenced Mr. Qadar to no less than 20 years and no more than 25 years. … I denied Mr. Qadar's first motion for a sentence reduction on May 20, 2020. Op. & Order, ECF No. 122. I found that Mr. Qadar had failed to prove he suffered from underlying conditions that increased his risk of serious complications from COVID-19, and the general risk of contracting COVID in prison did not constitute an extraordinary and compelling reason. Hewing closely to the U.S. Sentencing Commission's Policy Statement on what constitutes extraordinary and compelling reasons, I found that Mr. Qadar's family circumstances “d[id] not justify his compassionate release at th[at] time.” Id. at 7. I noted that “I support [Mr.] Qadar's efforts to serve his sentence in the United Kingdom,” but Mr. Qadar had not shown that his spouse was incapacitated and he was the only available caregiver for her—the only family circumstances the Sentencing Commission had recognized could amount to an extraordinary and compelling reason. … Meanwhile, much has changed since I issued my May 20, 2020 opinion and order. Mr. Qadar has obtained his updated medical records, which show he was diagnosed with hypertension by July 2020 and pre-diabetes by September 2020. Def.’s Mot. Recons., Exs. 11, 19. He had been managing these conditions through diet and exercise but prolonged lockdown at Otisville has prevented him from following his regimen, leading to increased blood pressure. … Those in BOP custody may move around “in small numbers” only for commissary, laundry, showers three times each week, telephone calls, and mental health and medical care. ...Additionally, Mr. Qadar's medical records reflect that he reported heart irregularities in July 2020, including “chest pain” and feeling his “heart ‘stopping while asleep.’ … A second test is typically taken to confirm the finding [of a septal infarct], because the results may instead be due to incorrect placement of electrodes on the chest during the exam.” Id. Mr. Qadar has yet to receive this second test. … As of October 2020, Mr. Qadar's wife Fehmeeda had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Family Circumstances Letter 5, ECF No. 137. Due to this illness, “she is struggling with activities of daily living such as washing, dressing, cooking ... [and] walking upstairs.” … In September 2020, the Second Circuit decided United States v. Brooker, 976 F.3d 228 (2d Cir. 2020). … The only statutory limit on what a court may consider to be extraordinary and compelling is that ‘[r]ehabilitation ... alone shall not be considered an extraordinary and compelling reason.’ ” … Based on factual and legal developments, Mr. Qadar filed a motion to reconsider my May 20, 2020 decision on October 16, 2020. Def.’s Mot. Recons. The government opposed on October 26, 2020, arguing in part that Mr. Qadar's diagnosis of a probable septal infarct needed to be confirmed with follow-up testing. Recons. Opp'n 7. The government submitted that Mr. Qadar had refused a follow-up appointment with a cardiologist the day before he filed his motion for reconsideration, insinuating that “some of his complaints were opportunistically raised.” Id. at 8. I subsequently stayed briefing on Mr. Qadar's motion until he visited a cardiologist. Minute Entry (Oct. 27, 2020). Mr. Qadar filed a letter in December 2020 informing the court that the cardiologist consultation still had not occurred. Letter, ECF No. 136. As of June 8, 2021, that remained the case, but Mr. Qadar sought leave to file his reply anyway, which I granted. Mr. Qadar filed that reply on June 18, 2021 and explained that he refused his original cardiologist appointment for fear of having to quarantine for twenty-four days to attend. Recons. Reply 2. He had requested a video consultation instead, but the BOP had failed to arrange one. Mr. Qadar raises two primary grounds for reconsideration of my May 20, 2020 opinion and order denying a sentence reduction: (1) Brooker constituted a change in controlling law such that I now have more flexibility to consider potential reasons for his release; and (2) new evidence is available concerning his medical conditions, the negative effects of continued COVID lockdown, and Fehmeeda's deteriorating health. The government argues that Brooker does not change the outcome here because I already assumed the Sentencing Commission's policy statement did not constrain me in my original decision. Recons. Opp'n 6. I disagree. In my opinion and order, I noted that “[s]ome district courts have concluded that the court may make an ‘independent assessment’ of whether ‘extraordinary and compelling reasons’ for release are present, looking to the Policy Statement only for ‘guidance.’ ” Op. & Order 3 (citations omitted). But particularly in analyzing Mr. Qadar's family circumstances, I hewed very closely to the Policy Statement[.] … Brooker explicitly empowers me to look beyond the policy statement to evaluate potential extraordinary and compelling reasons justifying release—“whether in isolation or combination”—so long as I do not rely on rehabilitation alone. 976 F.3d at 237–38. Thus, I now may view the “full slate” of reasons Mr. Qadar proposed in his original motion in a different light. ... I now find that the new evidence concerning Mr. Qadar's medical conditions, the effects of continued lockdown, and Fehmeeda's declining health, combined with preexisting evidence of his good character, rehabilitation, and prison accolades, constitutes extraordinary and compelling reasons supporting release. … Regardless of defendants’ vaccination status, “courts reviewing motions for sentence modifications have considered the extent to which onerous lockdowns and restrictions imposed by correctional facilities attempting to control the spread of the virus have made sentences ‘harsher and more punitive than would otherwise have been the case.’ ” … “While harsh conditions of confinement alone are insufficient,” if those conditions deprive defendants of the services they need to treat “serious mental and physical health issues,” such deprivations may support a finding of extraordinary and compelling reasons. … Here, Otisville's lockdown—which has lasted in one form or another for sixteen months—has prevented Mr. Qadar from adequately managing his hypertension and pre-diabetes through diet and exercise. Def.’s Mot. Recons. 18. This has led to high blood pressure readings and complaints of chest pain and heart irregularities. Id., Exs. 10–16, 22–25. While his vaccination against COVID-19 may lessen his risk of serious complications from contracting the virus, the prolonged lockdown's effect on Mr. Qadar's overall health strongly supports a finding of extraordinary and compelling reasons. … Mr. Qadar has shown that his wife, Fehmeeda, suffers from osteoarthritis and needs constant care to tackle everyday tasks. … Further compounding the difficulties of his family circumstances is Mr. Qadar's prolonged separation from his wife and children in the UK. Despite the UK's apparent willingness to accept Mr. Qadar and my full support behind his participation in the prisoner transfer program, see Def.’s Mot., Exs. F, H, DOJ has continued to deny Mr. Qadar's repeated requests for a treaty transfer. … Making matters worse, Mr. Qadar's wife and children have been unable to obtain tourist visas to visit Mr. Qadar in prison for the past thirteen years. ...Finally, I understand that this case does not involve financial restitution, but it is relevant to note that Rubina, the person most closely affected by the murder at the heart of this case, feels justice has been served. She supports Mr. Qadar's release and has offered to open her own home to him, despite his responsibility for her husband's death. Id., Exs. W, X. Rubina's endorsement weighs significantly in favor of reducing Mr. Qadar's sentence.”


Death Watch: The BOP has reported no additional inmate fatalities, leaving the number of inmate fatalities at 240. Five of these inmates died while on home confinement. Staff fatalities remain at 4.


34 views0 comments