The Covid-19 virus has created a disruption in the lives of everyone, this includes those who are currently incarcerated. Medical experts agree that an outbreak in a jail or prison is simply a question of WHEN it will occur, not IF it will occur. When it does, the ramifications could be catastrophic if not managed properly. So the question becomes for those who have loved ones who are incarcerated – what can be done to help them. My grandmother always told me when I was young “When life gives you lemons . . . use them to make lemonade!”. For those clients with pending criminal charges, a creative criminal lawyer could argue for the release of an accused on bond based upon the increased risk of contracting the virus while detained. In Federal cases, it can be argued that the danger of contracting the virus is a valid “change in circumstances” for consideration of bond, under 18 U.S.C Section 3142. A similar argument can be fashioned for those detained with high bonds in State court. Counsel should suggest granting an accused a personal recognizance bond with conditions such as pretrial supervision, electronic home detention or GPS monitoring. Release from jail would not only benefit the accused, but would reduce the risk of infections for the jail and the greater community.
In our next posting, we shall explore how a creative argument can be crafted for those individuals who have already been sentenced and are currently serving a prison term, Stay tuned!