Archive | Covid-19

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

“Our mindless addiction to punishment”: Keeping up with Covid-19 in the BOP

This week, the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced the death of an inmate named Andrea Circle Bear from Covid-19. In January 2020, a pregnant Ms. Circle Bear was remanded to begin serving a 26-month federal sentence for a nonviolent drug offense. She contracted Covid-19 in custody. On April 1, her baby was delivered by cesarean section. On April 28, Ms. Circle Bear died.

As FAMM President Kevin Ring put it, “[N]othing better demonstrates our mindless addiction to punishment more than the fact that, in the midst of a global pandemic, our government moved a 30-year-old, COVID-vulnerable pregnant woman not to a hospital or to her home, but to a federal prison. Her death is a national disgrace ….”

This “mindless addiction” is particularly stark in Ms. Circle Bear’s case, but it is no less apparent in the actions of the BOP and our local United States Attorney’s Offices as this …

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Categories: Covid-19

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Categories: Covid-19

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Compassionate Release and Covid-19

Numerous district courts in the Second Circuit and across the country have used the expanded compassionate release provision of the First Step Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i), to release at-risk defendants from custody during the Covid-19 crisis. These courts have found that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, combined with underlying medical issues that increase a defendant’s risk from the virus, can constitute “extraordinary and compelling” reasons to reduce the defendant’s sentence and order release from custody.

The national Federal Defenders website and Douglas Berman’s Sentencing Law and Policy blog are two great sources of information about these compassionate release grants.

Here I wanted to highlight a few notable decisions within the Second Circuit related to this issue.

In United States v. Gerard Scparta, No. 18 Cr. 578 (AJN), ECF Dkt. 69 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 19, 2020), Judge Nathan granted a compassionate release motion of a 55-year old defendant who suffers from …


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Categories: Covid-19, First Step Act of 2018

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