On September 12, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina ordered the release of Robbins Russell pro bono client G.B., who had been incarcerated since 2016. While serving his sentence, G.B. was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given less than two years to live. Under the terms of the First Step Act, passed by Congress in 2018, terminally ill inmates can seek compassionate release directly from the court. Robbins Russell associates Dani Zylberberg, Lauren Cassady, and Wendy Liu, under the supervision of Michael Waldman, submitted an emergency motion seeking G.B.’s immediate release based on his terminal illness. On an expedited briefing schedule, Robbins Russell persuaded the court that G.B. met all the federal criteria for compassionate release, and the court ordered that G.B. be released. As of September 20, 2019, G.B. is out of prison and in the care of his family.
North Carolina counsel Renorda Pryor, as well as attorneys from FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums), assisted Robbins Russell with the case.