COVID-19 Release Federal Cases


Under the compassionate release statute, the sentencing judge may reduce a term of imprisonment, after considering certain applicable factors, if the Court finds extraordinary and compelling reasons warranting such a reduction.

Historically, the Bureau of Prisons claimed unlimited and unreviewable discretion to refuse filing of motions to reduce sentences, no matter how clearly the clients deserved a second look by the sentencing judge. However, on December 21, 2018, the President signed the First Step Act into law. The significance of this Act, along with the amended § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i), is that defense counsel may now initiate the request for relief—under the compassionate release statute—once administrative remedies are exhausted.

Indeed, the purpose and scope of this act allows an inmate with a minimum term sentence immediately eligible for parole by reducing the minimum term of the sentence to time served. Additionally, a sentencing court may reduce the term of imprisonment of an inmate sentenced under the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984.

This allows the sentencing judge the appropriate jurisdiction to consider a defense motion for reduction when “the defendant has fully exhausted all administrative rights to appeal a failure of the Bureau of Prisons to bring a motion on the defendant’s behalf or the lapse of 30 days from the receipt of such a request by the warden of the defendant’s facility, whichever is earlier[.]’’

Thus, once administrative remedies have been exhausted, the defense can file a motion for reduction//modification of sentence, under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(1)(A), based upon the following three factors:

1. Extraordinary And Compelling Circumstances Not Reasonably Foreseen At The Time Of Sentencing
2. Persons Risk To Others And To The Community
3. Modification of Conditions Of Supervised Release To Accommodate The Reasons For The Sentencing Reduction

Due to the serious and easily transmittable nature of COVID-19, (and the inability of inmates to protect themselves against it), an Emergency Motion for Sentence Modification may be necessary to protect your family member or loved one who is incarcerated. Qualified candidates for this motion include persons with significant health risks, the elderly, persons with nonviolent offenses, persons with minimum sentences.

If you feel that your relative or loved one may benefit from this type of motion, please contact the Moran Law Firm for a free consultation. You may contact the Moran Law Firm via email at or via telephone at 559.264.2688.