In our last post, we discussed how a creative argument can be made for those clients seeking pre-trial release on bond, in light of the Covid-19 crisis. Today, we will discuss how to fashion a similar argument for those clients who have already been sentenced and are serving a jail term or prison term.
Most states have a procedure for an individual to petition the sentencing judge for an early release. In felony cases, this is commonly referred to as judicial release. In misdemeanor cases, this is typically referred to a motion to suspend sentence, or a motion to mitigate sentence. The goal is to convince the sentencing judge that the incarcerated individual is now good candidate for early release, because the chances of recidivism, or repeating criminal conduct, are very low. To help convince the judge, it is usually good idea to present to the court with certificates earned from inmate programs attended, character letters from family and friends, letters from potential employers willing to hire the inmate, and a brief letter from the inmate expressing genuine remorse and lessons learned while incarcerated. In addition, if there is any indication that the Covid-19 virus has touched the inmates, or employees of the holding institution, a creative argument can be made for compassionate release. If the inmate is in a high risk group, such as the elderly, immunity compromised, or otherwise physically infirm (typically lung or heart disease), the argument for release becomes even stronger in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Be sure to submit any medical documentation in support, to the reviewing judge. Good Luck!
Next in our series, we will discuss possible strategies for those inmates who may be otherwise ineligible for judicial release, due to length of sentence or the nature of offense, in light of the Covid-19 crisis.