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March 13, 2023: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE, COVID-19, and BOP BLOG


Fast Facts (Full BOP stats can be found here)


Confirmed active cases at 78 BOP facilities and 10 RRCs

Currently positive-testing inmates: 235 (unchanged) Currently positive-testing staff: 64 (up from 63) Recovered inmates currently in BOP: 45,207 (down from 45,215) Recovered staff: 15,192 (up from 15,191)


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

Leavenworth USP: 40 (unchanged)

Carswell FMC: 23 (down from 24)

Oklahoma City FTC: 13 (down from 16)


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

Devens FMC: 7 (unchanged)

Terminal Island FCI: 6 (unchanged)

Carswell FMC: 6 (up from 5)


System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 144,906 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 12,976 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 128,657 (down from 128,658) Positive tests: 55,305 (down from 55,306)


Total vaccine doses administered: 348,913 (up from 348,864)


Case Note: No government opposition to releasing defendant to care for his 16-year-old daughter...

In U.S. v. Pizzola, No. 214CR00011JPHCMM, 2023 WL 2445443 (S.D. Ind. Mar. 10, 2023), the court granted defendant's compassionate release motion, without government opposition, to permit him to care for his 16-year-old daughter following the death of defendant's parents who were caring for her, explaining:


I. Background In 2015, Mr. Pizzola pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846 & 841(a)(1). Dkts. 55, 56. The Court sentenced him to 132 months of imprisonment, to be followed by a 5-year term of supervised release. According to the Bureau of Prisons’ inmate database, Mr. Pizzola's projected release date (including good time credit) is December 7, 2023. https://www.bop.gov/inmateloc/ (last visited Mar. 9, 2023).


II. Discussion The general rule is that sentences imposed in federal criminal cases are final and may not be modified. 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c). Yet, under one exception to this rule, a court may reduce a sentence “after considering the factors set forth in [18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)2] to the extent that they are applicable,” if it finds that there are “extraordinary and compelling reasons” that warrant a reduction. 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i). The Seventh Circuit has held that a court has broad discretion in determining what constitutes “extraordinary and compelling reasons” under the statute. United States v. Gunn, 980 F.3d 1178, 1180–81 (7th Cir. 2020). The court must “consider[ ] the applicant's individualized arguments and evidence,” United States v. Rucker, 27 F.4th 560, 563 (7th Cir. 2022), but ultimately, “[t]he movant bears the burden of establishing ‘extraordinary and compelling reasons’ that warrant a sentence reduction.” United States v. Newton, 996 F.3d 485, 488 (7th Cir. 2021).

Mr. Pizzola is seeking immediate release in order to care for his 16-year-old daughter. According to records and a declaration provided by Mr. Pizzola, his minor daughter has been in the custody of Mr. Pizzola's parents. Dkt. 125-1. Recently, both of Mr. Pizzola's parents passed away. Id. Mr. Pizzola states that he is the only available caretaker for his daughter and if he is not released, the Department of Child Services may place her in foster care. Id.

Mr. Pizzola is 44 years old, has a plan to obtain employment and has a place for both his daughter and him to live if he is released because he has inherited his parents’ home. Dkt. 125 at 7; dkt. 118 at 4. Mr. Pizzola has three prior felonies which are all more than a decade old and none of them involved violence. Dkt. 47. In addition, his prior convictions were drug-related, and he reports that he has since taken over 40 hours of substance abuse classes. Dkt. 125 at 7. At this juncture, Mr. Pizzola has served more than 90% of his sentence and is scheduled to be released in nine months.

For these reasons, and in light of the United States’ March 6, 2023, Stipulation that it does not oppose the motion, dkt. 128, the Court finds that extraordinary and compelling reasons warrant a sentence reduction, that Mr. Pizzola does not pose a danger to any other person or the community under the conditions of release, that the § 3553(a) factors support a reduction of his sentence to time served, and that his release from his term of imprisonment in this case is consistent with the Sentencing Commission's applicable policy statements.


III. Conclusion For the reasons stated above, the Court GRANTS Mr. Pizzola's motions for compassionate release, dkts. [118] and [125]. The United States’ motion for extension for time, dkt. [127], is also granted to the extent that the Court accepts the United States’ response to the defendant's compassionate release motions as timely filed. The Court ORDERS that Mr. Pizzola's sentence of imprisonment be reduced to time served. The term of supervised release remains 5 years. The terms of supervised release stated in the Judgment imposed on June 30, 2015, dkt. 56, remain the same.


Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announces BOP COVID-related deaths here.) Today, the BOP announced no new COVID-related deaths, leaving the total number of inmate COVID-related deaths at 314. Eleven of the inmates died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7

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