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Federal Bureau of Prisons Covid -19 (Corona Virus) news & information. Please use this forum to share information concerning Covid -19 in the Federal Prison System. Please do not discuss individuals who have the virus.

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  #1  
Old 05-13-2020, 06:49 PM
Newwhitecollar Newwhitecollar is offline
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Default Covid-19 and sentencing

Does anyone know how covid-19 is affecting sentencing hearings? Are the giving downward variances or departures because of it?
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Old 05-14-2020, 02:10 AM
bellisq bellisq is offline
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There is more info on how it affecting post-conviction decisions. (I am not a lawyer and have not had first hand experience with the exhaustion rule, which has to do with going through all the BOP steps before going to court. Some judges are not following that rule and letting people out.)

Back to the sentencing question - I have seen a number of cases that looked to be headed to jail, but instead lesser time is given and a long stint in home confinement is given instead. I think a lot of sentencings have been postponed. But I track a number of legal association forums and lawyers are happy about downward variances they are getting. Obviously and heartbreakingly, Angel Circle Bear, a Native American was not given a break, and Covid killed her. If you have an autoimmune illness, that needs to be highlighted along with the others Barr has named.

There is all kinds of anti-BOP information out there. Research, politicians, class actions suits, Federal defender and law associations, multiple news outlets, etc have produced at least 50 articles pointing out the many deficits in the BOP. I mean tons of info. that can be brought to bear in a sentencing. This pandemic is a game changer, at least for the short term. Read everything you can get your hands on, because the official BOP web site is full of lies and can be discredited. Judges are going through this with us and have shown true empathy. If your lawyer isn't up on all the issues, help them get there.

If you have the funds, a legal analysis group, SentencingStats, can break down the variances by district, and even judges. We've used them with great outcomes before. I say throw everything legitimate at the Court. It's all true and the BOP is a death machine who needs to be fought at every turn.

Last edited by bellisq; 05-14-2020 at 02:12 AM..
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Old 05-14-2020, 11:24 AM
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Can I make a suggestion - prepare for the worst. I am not saying that is what will happen, but if you prepare for the worst, you will be ready for anything that comes along. COVID is hitting the courts, and the prisons, sure, but counting on it to get you a lighter sentence is just grasping for a hope to stay out of prison.

Work with your attorney. Find the lists here that deal with preparing for prison. Do some meditation or centering/grounding exercises to help you deal with this uncertainty. Dealing with uncertainty in a way that will reduce your anxiety is a skill well worth the effort.

Lots of people make it through prison. Assuming you have to go and be there for a while, you will too
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Old 05-14-2020, 11:43 AM
Newwhitecollar Newwhitecollar is offline
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I go for sentencing next Thursday and my attorney is saying lower end of the guidelines which is 37-48 months. I know I will have to do some time I’m prepared for that. I’m hoping that it’s on the lower end and not the upper end. I was just wondering if anyone has heard what judges are doing in response to the virus
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Old 05-14-2020, 01:38 PM
ElMaestro ElMaestro is offline
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From a defense attorney colleague, he heard a federal judge admonish defense counsel when they asked for an unusually light sentence due to Covid-19. Every federal judge has their own unique personalities - just like anyone.

I agree with the others who said prepare yourself for anywhere within your guideline range. When we were sentenced, we fell right in the middle of our guideline with our sentencing.
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Old 05-14-2020, 02:30 PM
bellisq bellisq is offline
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Judges can admonish and still vary downward. It's important to ask for everything possible, so that your case is available for every possible win. I think everybody here is preparing for and afraid of the worst.
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Old 05-14-2020, 03:34 PM
Newwhitecollar Newwhitecollar is offline
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I’m prepared for the worst but hoping for the best. My attorney says I have done everything possible to give the judge a reason to give a downward variance. I have made restitution with what I could, got excellent character letters, complied with everything the government has ask. I’m just hoping he takes all that into account. I know that I won’t be spared prison time I’m just hoping it’s not at the upward end of the guidelines
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:09 PM
bellisq bellisq is offline
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The majority of judges give bottom of the guidelines. But asking for a variance with 3553(a) factors is good. Did you pick a place to ask for designation? It's a little crazy right now, no one knows if the DSCC is even open.
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Old 05-14-2020, 06:03 PM
Newwhitecollar Newwhitecollar is offline
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I should be able to self surrender and I’m hoping for fci el Reno since it’s only about 2 hours from my hometown. If I didn’t have parents who would visit I would ask for fpc Montgomery
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Old 05-14-2020, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newwhitecollar View Post
Iím prepared for the worst but hoping for the best. My attorney says I have done everything possible to give the judge a reason to give a downward variance. I have made restitution with what I could, got excellent character letters, complied with everything the government has ask. Iím just hoping he takes all that into account. I know that I wonít be spared prison time Iím just hoping itís not at the upward end of the guidelines
I (like most) was filled with extreme anxiety in the three years leading up to my sentencing day. When the day came I was surprisingly calm. Even though I would probably go to prison I knew we had done everything we could to obtain the best possible outcome. I felt very ready/prepared. As the sentencing started I was unsure but, still calm. The longer it went the better I felt as the cards we had stacked started turning up in our favor. Ultimately, I got a non-incarceratory sentence. Sounds as you have prepared the same. I think you will be able to find some comfort in that regardless of the outcome.
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