On July 29, 2021, Judge Leonie M. Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia granted compassionate release to a Robbins Russell client currently incarcerated in federal prison. Robbins Russell attorneys Lee Friedman, Anna Deffebach, and Courtney Millian worked with Ann Rigby from the Eastern District of Virginia Federal Public Defender’s office to file a motion for compassionate release under the First Step Act of 2018 on behalf of a 64-year old African American man whose serious health conditions placed him at a heightened risk of catching and suffering severe illness from COVID-19 while in prison. Our client, who has spent the last 22 years incarcerated for his role in a series of robberies in the 1990s, will be released on August 30, 2021.
The Court agreed with both principal arguments advanced by Robbins Russell and the FPD’s office in support of the motion. First, our client’s particularized risk of contracting and suffering severe illness from COVID-19 constitute extraordinary and compelling reasons to justify his compassionate release. Second, the sheer and unusual length of our client’s sentence—driven largely by three harsh 25-year mandatory consecutive sentences he received for convictions under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)—also contributed to extraordinary and compelling reasons for release. Our client was facing an excessive federal prison sentence of nearly 100 years but is now looking forward to instead being reunited with his family.