3rd Cir. Panel Says ‘Mere Existence of COVID-19’ Does Not Justify Compassionate Release

  • Opinion

PHILADELPHIA — A federal appeals panel has refused to decide a prisoner’s COVID-19-related compassionate-release motion, ruling that he must first exhaust the administrative process for such release through the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) before turning to the courts.

In an April 2 opinion, the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel recognized the risk that COVID-19 poses in the federal prison system, particularly for inmates who are advanced in age and have health problems. However, “the mere existence of COVID-19 in society and the possibility that it may spread to a particular prison alone cannot independently justify compassionate release, especially …


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