This course provides guidance on how to prepare a “compassionate release” motion for federal inmates pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §3582(c)(1)(A)(i), as amended by the First Step Act (“FSA”), P.L. 115-391. It will address procedural requirements such as exhaustion, as well as substantive elements of a motion and the alternative relief that can be requested. While the Covid-19 pandemic has provided opportunities for compassionate release that might not otherwise have existed, the advent of vaccines (and vaccinations of inmates and staff with the Bureau of Prisons) suggests that window is closing. However, Covid-19 still offers avenues for compassionate release separate from a particular inmate’s vulnerability to future infection. In addition, other aspects of a compelling §3582 motion will be discussed, as well as strategies for amplifying a movant’s rehabilitation since sentencing, and other factors that can have a material impact on the motion. Included among the essential factors are revisiting the 18 U.S.C. §3553(a) sentencing factors, and how they can be presented to support a §3582 motion.
The course will also review the burgeoning case law on the subject, as judges now more frequently write opinions explaining their decisions. That, too, provides important information on what factors influence decisions on such motions. The case law also informs strategies with respect to exhaustion, and what issues have been recognized to constitute “extraordinary and compelling” circumstances.
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