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July 8, 2021 -- COVID-19 and Compassionate Release Update



Quick Facts: Currently positive-testing inmates: 21 (down from 22) Currently positive-testing staff: 132 (down from 138) Recovered inmates: 43,778 (down from 43,867) Recovered staff: 6,901 (up from 6,892) Institutions with the largest number of currently positive-testing inmates:

Bennetsville FCI: 2 (unchanged)

Florence High USP: 2 (unchanged)

Sandstone FCI: 2

Institutions with the largest number of currently positive-testing staff: Pekin FCI: 9 (unchanged)

Beaumont Medium FCI: 5 ( unchanged) Brooklyn MDC: 5

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 129,638 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 14,177 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 116,231 (up from 116,115) Positive tests: 43,206 (down from 43,364)

Case Note: Compassionate release granted to defendant who pleaded guilty to avoid § 924(c) stacking:


In U.S. v. ROBERT ANTHONY SANCHEZ, 2021 WL 2808702 (E.D. Cal. July 6, 2021), another case finding that the removal of 924(c)’s stacking provision is extraordinary and compelling, comes with a twist: defendant plead guilty to avoid stacking but the court still granted compassionate release, explaining: "Here, defendant Sanchez's grounds for seeking compassionate release are based in part on (1) the purported risks posed to him by the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic; and (2) the FSA's clarification that federal prosecutors may no longer seek stacked sentences for multiple § 924(c) convictions in a single prosecution, as they did in his case. … In his motion, defendant Sanchez argues that extraordinary and compelling reasons warranting his release exist because the FSA clarified that federal prosecutors may not stack sentences for multiple § 924(c) convictions in a single prosecution, as they did in his case over 25 years ago. (Doc. No. 143 at 33.) Defendant asserts that under the FSA his exposure for the § 924(c) charges the government brought against him would have dropped from 145 years to 40 years; his actual exposure on the § 924(c) counts he was convicted [of] would have dropped from 25 years to 10 years; and he has already served over 25 years in custody. … The court is persuaded by defendant's arguments. First, while the government is correct that § 403 does not apply in defendant's case because he was sentenced before December 21, 2018, it is also true that this court may nonetheless consider that legislative change in determining whether extraordinary and compelling reasons exist supporting the granting of defendant's motion to reduce his sentence under § 3582(c)(1)(A). … Additionally, defendant is correct that “[s]ection 3582 (c)(1)(A) provides a safety valve against what otherwise would be a harsh, unjust, and unfair result stemming from a non-retroactivity clause.” United States v. McPherson, 454 F. Supp. 3d 1049, 1053 (W.D. Wash. 2020). In this regard, many district courts have now specifically held “that a sentencing disparity created by changes to the law on sentencing that gives rise to an injustice of facing a term of incarceration longer than what Congress currently deems warranted for the crimes at issue constitutes an extraordinary and compelling reason for reducing a sentence under § 3582(c)(1)(A).” … The court finds that the disparity between the sentence that defendant Sanchez is currently serving and the one that would have been imposed had he been sentenced today is an extraordinary and compelling reason that warrants a sentence reduction in this case when considered with defendant's efforts at rehabilitation while imprisoned, as addressed below. See Parker, 2021 WL 1966409, at *3. Accordingly, the court concludes that defendant has met his burden of demonstrating that extraordinary and compelling reasons exist that warrant the granting of compassionate release under § 3582(c)(1)(A). … As recognized above, it is currently anticipated he will be released from the halfway house on February 5, 2022 and thus has served practically all of the lengthy prison term imposed in his case—one that would not be imposed today. (See id.) As his counsel noted at the hearing on the motion, defendant was granted the full amount of halfway house time by the BOP and is therefore already in the community. The court agrees that seven additional months in a halfway house will serve no purpose in this case.”


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.

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