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People Are Securing Early Release Due to COVID-19

The Coronavirus pandemic has proved a relentless threat to everybody, and no less to those in prison. Fatality tolls are still rising with a deadly consistency, and there is still no indication as to whether a vaccine can be found in time or even at all. For governments all over the world who are still hard at work trying to rescue coronavirus patients while protecting everyone else, prison populations are a serious concern.

Particularly in the US, still top of the pile of countries who are the hardest hit, and which has the largest incarcerated population in the world; the COVID-19 disease has recently surged and is spreading rapidly amongst prison populations.

Conditions in prisons and correctional facilities are such that are perfect for the spread of infectious diseases like the Coronavirus. In response, officials have initiated early-release programs to decongest prisons and reduce the spread of the virus.

That means that people are getting their sentences reduced, or commuted altogether. The government has given its blessing at the federal level, and state prisons are quickly taking the initiative. Some states have already released hundreds of inmates, and are still working towards getting more people released or fast-tracked towards parole and early-release programs.

Prisoners are being sent on their way
Cases already abound where inmates have been released from prison, in some cases, to house arrest or halfway houses, or directly to the street. The various early-release programs generally deem as eligible, people who are;

  • Older, less-dangerous, and at risk of the virus (including pregnant women); or
  • Less-serious offenders closer to their release or parole dates;
  • Sick and in need of better healthcare.

United States v. Sawicz(EDNY Apr. 10, 2020)
In United States v. Sawicz, 2020 WL 1815851,William Sawicz successfully applied for compassionate release on health grounds. He was originally sentenced on August 23, 2016 for possession of child pornography and serving a 5-year term, to be followed by five more years of supervised release which he violated. Under normal circumstances, he would have been eligible for home confinement release on August 26, 2020. Pleading his vulnerability to the COVID-19 disease in Court, he asserted that he was hypertensive; often requiring Lisinopril and Baby Aspirin. He had complained of the “significant levels of infection” at FCI Danbury and submitted a formal letter of request to the warden to be transferred to home confinement. He was ignored.

He then filed another letter with the warden, this time seeking compassionate release under the First Step Act, 18 U. S. C § 3582 (C)(1)(A)(i). Apart from the statutory provisions regarding home confinement, the First Step Act allows prisoners to move for compassionate release for “extraordinary and compelling reasons”. The applicant must ordinarily fulfill four requirements to be granted compassionate release which is that:

  • The exhaustion of his administrative rights with the BOP;
  • The existence, in the court’s view, of extraordinary and compelling reasons warranting his release;
  • The consideration by the courts of factors set out in §3553 (a); (generally factors bordering on the gravity of the offense)
  • The release is in the opinion of the court, consistent with the Sentencing Commission’s policy statements

The exhaustion requirement is not absolute; it can be waived and was waived in this case. The significant levels of COVID-19 outbreak at Danbury (uncontested by the government) and the fact that any delay would put him at risk, combined with the fact that the defendant was at risk of suffering severe complications if he were to contract COVID-19 because of his hypertension was held to justify the waiver. He was released to home confinement for 6 months and 5 years of supervised release thereafter.

NLPA Face Mask

It is important to note, that defendant was able to properly assert that his particular vulnerability to the COVID-19 pandemic as constituting “an extraordinary and compelling reason” for his release. Considering that this would ordinarily not fall squarely within the usual definition of “extraordinary and compelling reason”, the risk or threat of the coronavirus now seems to be extra consideration for sick or vulnerable inmates to secure release. But it was also vital for the court, in reaching its decision, to weigh these claims along with any risk or danger he posed to the society. The severity usually associated with other requirements was also commuted ostensibly given the risks posed by the coronavirus. It does appear, however, by the converse decision on similar claims in the United States v. Smith, 2020 No. 3:16-cr-48 (MPS) (D Conn. Apr. 17,2020), that the applicant’s ability to adequately prove vulnerability due tohealth risk or an underlying health condition is vital to his case.

United States v. Almonte (D. Conn. Apr. 9, 2020)
In United States v. Almonte, 2020 WL 1812713 (D. Conn. Apr. 9, 2020), Almonte’spro se motion for a reduced sentence was granted after a telephone hearing. He also made this based his motion on “extraordinary and compelling reasons” under 18 U. S. C § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i). He had been serving a term of 262 months for drug-related offenses and possession of a firearm. In his case, he had exhausted his administrative rights with the BOP after they failed to bring a motion on his behalf within 30 days of the receipt by the warden of his request.

Almonte, admittedly without a life-threatening condition, was able to show that he suffered from chronic pains arising from complications linked to a broken neck and subsequent vertebrae fusion surgery. He was, at the time of the trial and in recent times prior, fast deteriorating and losing control of his legs on occasion. A condition that is substantially diminishing his ability to care for himself and which, due to the failure of the BOP to address, is not likely to improve or recover under current circumstances.

Almonte was also able to show a verifiable degree of effort and success towards his rehabilitation, providing a detailed plan for reintegration with the help of a support network. His motion was granted and sentence reduced to time served.

Securing your release
The imperative of federal officials and state governments is to prevent any implosion of the coronavirus pandemic amidst vulnerable populations like those in prison or detention centres. That generally means a relaxation of the usual rules or even compromise in deserving cases. A lot of people are getting reduced sentences or early release either directly into the community or supervised programs.

For those incarcerated in federal facilities and detention centres, you will need expert help to take due advantage of this situation. It is our responsibility here at the NLPA to assist people in either reducing their sentences or being released. With our extensive research capabilities, we can help you and your lawyer with a successful motion for early release or alternative disposition.

Matters such as this are such that they must be quick and expedient. Call us or contact us through our page to consult our in-house experts on your application.

Prison Sentence Reduction

Sentencing comes after conviction and for most that find themselves facing this process, the usual feeling is one of resignation. Since guilt seems to have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, there is a tendency to simply sit and accept whatever follows. After all, there’s nothing you can do.

However, that is almost always wrong. Like conviction, sentencing is only one of the several phases that a criminal trial goes through and contrary to what most think, a lot can still happen after sentencing and during appeals.

With specialist support, it is still possible for defendants to find a positive conclusion to their case, despite the odds stacked against them. It is still possible for prison sentences to be reduced and alternative (more favorable) sentencing to be sought.

With the right support, an unfavorable trial can be turned around at the last instant and transformed into an almost miraculous win. This is the support that National Legal Professional Associates (NLPA) provides to its clients.

At NLPA, have a deep understanding of the principles and rules that guide sentencing in the US. For more than 25 years, we have been putting this knowledge to work on behalf of defendants all over the country and in that time, we have helped hundreds secure better outcomes.

We believe no case is truly over until all possible alternatives have been exhausted, and no one is better than us at finding the trump card that makes the difference.

Sentencing rules in the US

The US has an extensive body of principles, statutes and rules that guide sentencing for criminal offenses. Once a crime has been proved, the next question that the court must determine is what sentence the law prescribes for the offense.

Although this may seem straightforward, it can be very complicated, more often than not. The sentencing rules usually contain recommendations for a wide variety of important factors including:

  • Sentencing ranges, which determine the maximum and minimum punishments that can be imposed for a crime;
  • Sentencing enhancements, which describe circumstances in which a greater punishment than ordinarily prescribed can be imposed;
  • Mandatory sentences, in regard to which the court is expected to impose the prescribed punishment without exercise of discretion; and
  • Mitigating factors, which are vital facts and circumstances that operate in favor of the defendant and may result in a reduced sentence.

The rules will also include the possibilities for alternative sentencing including community service, probation and incarceration in specific facilities. These rules are often spread over a variety of statutes such that it will often take a monumental effort to find and exploit all the rules that may be favorable to a defendant.

In our experience, if sentencing is allowed to go without much input from the defendant or defense team, nothing can stop the worst from happening. The prosecution will, by default, ask the court for the harshest punishment possible and this may see the defendant spend years or even their whole life in prison.

But that will always be a mistake. We have made it our business to thoroughly understand how the sentencing rules apply in any given case. With our quality legal research assistance, we have helped defendants in even the most unfavorable circumstances access reduced sentences and more favorable disposition.

We can get the law to work for you

NLPA has earned a reputation for helping its clients obtain successful outcomes. We have a solid track record of helping defendants find the best possible results, through their attorneys. This is why we are universally regarded as one of the best legal research teams available.

With our knowledge and expertise, you can quite rightly say we know exactly how to help you find a positive outcome. Although no one can guarantee success in every case, we can guarantee that you will have the best and most experienced lawyers working on your behalf.

Our track record speaks for itself as we have assisted hundreds of clients at the pre-trial, trial and post-conviction stages. We keenly understand the principle, statutes and rules that underpin the US sentencing guidelines, and we can put this deep expertise to work for you. Our services include:

  • Preliminary sentencing assistance: We can provide defendants and their attorneys with information on how to fight enhancements. Many Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI) reports include information that is derogatory and detrimental to the defendant. We can provide techniques to ensure the sentence is based only on accurate information. We know what downward departures can best suit a defendant’s case and how to persuade the court to let the defendant go home sooner.
  • Full sentencing assistance: Under this service, our researchers work to prepare thoroughly researched objections and motions to correct the PSI and Memorandum of Law in support. Wrongful information in the PSI can be extremely detrimental to the defendant. We understand how to deal with this and can work together with defense counsel to persuade the court to dismiss offending information.
  • Institutional destination: We can assist in making written requests to the Bureau of Prisons to consider alternative disposition of the defendant. There are a wide variety of institutions where a defendant may be incarcerated. We can help in petitioning for the best possible facility where the defendant can serve his term of incarceration.

Our track record speaks for us

We have worked with defendants and their counsel from all over the US. All through these engagements, we have earned a reputation as a legal research firm that helps its clients obtain positive results.

When defendants and their counsel approach us to provide assistance, they do so with the confidence that we will provide valuable help. Take a look at what our clients have said about us. Here are some of the results that we have secured:

  • US v Addison: Defendant was recommended for life imprisonment. After we got involved, we were able to assist in getting the sentence reduced to 260 months in jail.
  • US v Alexis: The defendant was recommended for between 360 months to life imprisonment in the PSI. We assisted in getting this reduced to 260 months, saving 15 years of the defendant’s life.
  • US v Armstrong: The defendant was recommended for 96 months in jail. Through our intervention, this was reduced to 63 months, saving 3 years of the defendant’s life.
  • US v Bekic: He was recommended for 180 months in jail. We were able to assist in reducing this to 60 months, saving 10 years of the defendant’s life.
  • US v Bellamy: The defendant was recommended for a jail term between 240-262 months in the PSI. We intervened and assisted to reduce this to 108, saving 11 years of the defendant’s life.

These results show only a bare fraction of the consistent results we provide our clients. You can check here to see our track record in several other cases over our 25-year experience.

Contact us today

If you are preparing for a sentencing in a criminal case, avail yourself of this opportunity and contact us right away. No matter where your sentencing will be held, and regardless of what you are charged with, we can help.

Reach out to us today and let us put our deep expertise and knowledge of the US sentencing rules to work for you. For more information about how we can help, contact us today.

NLPA helps counsel use new Crack law to reduce a Defendant’s sentence by ten years


Often, NLPA is contacted by attorneys who represent federal criminal defendants who are in need of sentencing assistance, given the wide array of arguments that can be made in favor of sentences below what is called for by the United States Sentencing Guidelines.  The case of United States v. Tarsha Brooks

Tarsha Brooks Victory Memo PDF

New Department of Justice Policy RE: Mandatory Minimum Sentences & §851 Enhancements

By now, you have heard about the new policy announced by the attorney General Holder limiting the charging power of the government for current and future defendant so that low level non-violent drug offenders are less likely to receive harsh mandatory minimum sentences. Although the new legislation to initiate this policy has not yet been passed by Congress

2013 Mandatory Minimum Proposal PDF

California Three Strikes Law Amended

As NLPA has previously written, a national wave of sentencing reform is occurring, with the wave cresting in the great state of California. Recently, California enacted Senate Bill 9 into law, whereby criminal defendants who were under age eighteen at the time of their crime and who were sentenced to life in prison without parole can ask the sentencing court to review their cases and consider permitting parole after serving twenty-five years in prison. Election Night 2012 provided another.