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September 15, 2022: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE, COVID-19, and BOP BLOG



Fast Facts (Full BOP stats can be found here)


Confirmed active cases at 107 BOP facilities and 15 RRCs

Currently positive-testing inmates: 319 (up from 309) Currently positive-testing staff: 736 (up from 735) Recovered inmates currently in the BOP: 49,101 (down from 49,198) Recovered staff: 13,720 (up from 13,717)


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

Danbury FCI: 35 (unchanged)

Berlin FCI: 28 (unchanged)

Canaan USP: 19 (unchanged)

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

Central Office HQ: 57 (unchanged)

Rochester FMC: 36 (unchanged)

Brooklyn MDC: 32 (unchanged)

System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 142,204 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 14,022 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 128,715 (up from 128,713) Positive tests: 55,363 (up from 55,362)


Total vaccine doses administered: 329,626 (up from 329,577)


Case Note: An old-law, new-law saga ends in time served for triple lifer...


In U.S. v. NOAH ROBINSON, 2022 WL 4119800 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 9, 2022), (Pallmeyer, J.), the court granted this triple lifer a sentence reduction to time-served due to his age and health issues, but only after he was granted parole -- as in old-law parole -- on his other, old-law life sentence, the court explaining: "On October 26, 1989, Robinson and 37 codefendants were charged by indictment [1] with various crimes arising from their association with the El Rukn gang. Robinson was arrested the next day and has been in custody ever since. … In 1985 and 1987, Robinson hired El Rukn hit teams to murder three individuals: Leroy Barber, Robert Aulston, and Janice Denise Rosemond. The first hit was successful; the second was never completed; and the third resulted in severe injury to Rosemond. … On October 22, 1997, Judge Zagel of this court ordered concurrent sentences of 10 years in prison for witness retaliation; 20 years for witness tampering; 5 years and 20 years, respectively, for two counts of interstate travel to commit murder; and three life sentences—one for a RICO conspiracy, another for a narcotics conspiracy, and the third on another charge of travel to commit murder. Robinson's motion for compassionate release has been pending since September 2020, and has been supplemented numerous times, as described below. Because the crime underlying Robinson's third life sentence had been committed before November 1, 1987 (i.e., it was an “old law” sentence), this court initially determined that it lacked the statutory authority to grant compassionate release unless the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) made the request. In several supplemental filings (all unanswered by the Government), Robinson has briefed the new-law issue, provided additional health-related information … and alerted the court to the fact that he was granted parole on his old-law sentence sometime in 2021. The last item is the most significant. The conclusion of Robinson's old-law life sentence renders moot this court's previous conclusion that Robinson is not eligible for compassionate release. The only sentences for which Robinson is currently incarcerated are his two new-law life sentences. Because this means that Robinson's motion for compassionate release is governed solely by 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A), the court can reach the merits of his request without the BOP having approved it. … Robinson is now 80 years old and has been in custody since 1989. He argues that his advanced age and declining health provide an “extraordinary and compelling” basis for compassionate release, particularly given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As summarized by a hired medical expert, Dr. Ryan-Niko Hickman, Robinson's medical history “includes coronary artery disease status post stent placement in 2008, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), obstructive sleep apnea being treated with CPAP use, hypertension (high blood pressure), hypertensive retinopathy, angina (chest pain), esophageal reflux with history of bleeding peptic ulcer, peripheral vertigo, neuralgia and neuritis, and hematuria.” … While Robinson may indeed have an “extensive medical history” (Dr. Hickman Report at 1), rare is the 80-year-old who does not. He has repeatedly compared himself to codefendant Melvin Mayes, whose compassionate release motion this court granted earlier this year. … The court appreciates that the COVID-19 pandemic may be an exigent circumstance, particularly for an elderly inmate like Robinson. Dr. Hickman's report noted various factors, especially Robinson's age and coronary artery disease, that create a heightened risk of severe illness or death if Robinson contracts the virus. … The pandemic aside, it is undisputed that Robinson is quite elderly, is in declining health, and has been incarcerated for a remarkably long time. Each of those factors favors compassionate release. While the Sentencing Commission's policy statements do not limit the court's discretion on this motion, § 1B1.13 has been helpful in evaluating Robinson's request. … The Commission's notes endorse compassionate release where the defendant “(i) is at least 65 years old; (ii) is experiencing a serious deterioration in physical or mental health because of the aging process; and (iii) has served at least 10 years or 75 percent of his or her term of imprisonment, whichever is less.” Id. § 1B1.13 application note (1)(B). Robinson is 80 years old, which is elderly by any standard and far beyond the mark of 65. Although the court has not seen evidence that Robinson is gravely or terminally ill, his health does appear to be meaningfully deteriorating as a result of his advancing age. For instance, Robinson's latest medical records show that he has begun using a wheelchair for at least some routine activities. Finally, Robinson has been incarcerated for over 32 years—well beyond the policy statement's 10-year standard. The court therefore concludes that Robinson has demonstrated an extraordinary and compelling basis for release. … Robinson was convicted of brutal crimes, but he is 80 years old and has now been in custody for almost 33 years. That is a significant period for the purposes of punishment and general deterrence. See 18 U.S.C. § 3553(2)(A)–(B). In the court's view, granting compassionate release to an individual who has served such a lengthy sentence does not undermine the rule of law or make light of Robinson's offenses. See id. § 3553(a)(2)(A). The court has also taken note of anecdotal reports that paint a picture of continuing decline in Robinson's memory and mental acuity. (See, e.g., Def.’s Seventh Add. Supp. at 1–2.) In the court's view, such deterioration weakens the justification for the continuing incarceration of an elderly, long-serving defendant like Robinson.”


Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announces BOP COVID-related deaths here.) The BOP has identified no new COVID-related fatalities. The total number COVID-related inmate deaths remains at 306. Eleven of the inmates died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.

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