The Preamble of our Constitution sets forth aspirations that our Founding Generation foresaw were necessary for the establishment of a free, just, and prosperous nation. In fact, the concept of “justice” was foremost on their minds: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice….”
Yet this concept of “justice” is complicated--it must balance individual liberty and fairness with public safety and victim restoration. Clause 40 Foundation is a nonpartisan tax exempt 501(c)(3) founded on the belief that the promise of justice in the Preamble is yet unfilled in our modern society and that failure is preventing the advancement of this country and all its people.
We believe that the erosion of procedural due process rights is one cornerstone of the problem and therefore our mission is to re-balance the nation’s criminal justice framework by preserving the due process rights guaranteed in the Constitution through public education, events, research, litigation, and advocacy.
While other voices are shouting at each other across a void of misunderstandings and mistrust, we work to bridge the divide--partnering with all communities to move America #TowardJustice.
with leading constitutional litigators Prof. Jeffrey L. Fisher + Erin E. Murphy
During this unprecedented and tumultuous time, Clause 40 Foundation is relying on your support to help ensure that we can continue our mission. It is during times like these that our foundational principles--like due process--provide the most guidance. Please help us ensure such principles endure this crisis by supporting our work.
Southern District of New York approved compassionate release motion for individuals after finding that COVID-19 serves as an exception to the exhaustion requirement located in federal law and serves as a “extraordinary and compelling reason" for sentence modification.
Citation: 2020 WL 1659880
District of Massachusetts released an individual from pretrial detention because his asthma prevents him from “readily flee[ing] the district” and detention would pose a “very serious risk to his health.”
Citation: 2020 WL 1478307
Eastern District of Washington granted a motion for compassionate release for individual incarcerated in Spokane County Jail awaiting transfer to BOP because she is from the "most susceptible age category," medical condition makes her "particularly vulnerable," and "it is impossible to practice social distancing or isolation in a jail setting."
Citation: 2020 WL 1536155
Southern District of New York approved compassionate release motion for individual with three weeks remaining on sentence after finding that "pursuing the administrative process would be a futile endeavor" and his medical condition served as "'extraordinary and compelling reasons' to reduce his sentence to time served."
Citation: 2020 WL 1546422
District of Connecticut found that chronic health conditions alone do not serve as an "extraordinary and compelling" reason for the court to grant a compassionate release motion. The Court found that Mr. Jepsen was in a "unique position" given that he had less than eight weeks to serve on his sentence and this fact combined with his health condition serves as a “extraordinary and compelling” reasons to grant the motion for compassionate release.
Citation: 2020 WL 1640232
Eastern District of Pennsylvania found that the policy statement of the United States Sentencing Commission serves as "'helpful guidance' but does not limit the Court's independent assessment of whether 'extraordinary and compelling reasons' exist" while granting compassionate release for individual at "high risk of grave illness or death if he gets infected with coronavirus."
Citation: 2020 WL 1627331
Southern District of New York approved defendant to serve remainder of sentence in home confinement upon the government's consent and finding the defendant's "compromised immune system, taken in concert with the COVID-19 public health crisis, constitutes an extraordinary and compelling reason."
Citation: 2020 WL 1489829
Southern District of Texas grants individual's motion for compassionate release upon finding that his medical condition presented an "extraordinary and compelling reason" and his reduced sentence "adequately expresses the seriousness of the offense, deters criminal conduct, and protects the public"
Citation: 2020 WL 1540325
Southern District of New York denied defendant's motion for release on bail after finding that COVID-19 did not serve as a "compelling reason" for release under federal law because it was a "generalized argument" in his circumstances. The court also noted his Sixth Amendment right to counsel was not violated by the Bureau of Prison's decision to suspend all legal visit for 30 days because such decision was reasonable "in light of the global pandemic and the threat it poses to inmates, residents of New York City, and the nation at large."
Citation: 2020 WL 1821717
Eastern District of Virginia denied defendant's motion for compassionate after finding he "still presents the same threats to the community today as were present at the time of his conviction" and "diminish[ed] his wrongdoing" in the motion.
Citation: 2020 WL 1889361
Eastern District of Michigan waived the exhaustion requirements for compassionate release after noting that the defendant had been denied release after petitioning "the BOP for compassionate release at least six times." The court found an "extraordinary and compelling reason" because her continued "incarceration under the current circumstances could be a lethal decision."
Citation: 2020 WL 1888842
The federal defenders have drafted a template for motions to challenge the continued pretrial detention of defendants who are high risk given the CIVD-19 crisis.
Criminal Standing Order of March 22nd, 2020: The D.C. Superior Court has issued an order outlining the criteria judges should consider in evaluating filings requesting the immediate release of defendants on account of COVID-19.
We encourage other Courts to do the same.
The New Jersey Supreme Court issued an order late Sunday night that will suspend or commute county jail sentences for low-risk inmates in light of the public health emergency caused by COVID-19. The order commutes or suspends county jail sentences currently being served by county jail inmates either as a condition of probation for an indictable offense or because of a municipal court conviction.
The ACLU of the District of Columbia and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia have sued the D.C. Department of Corrections for "unconstitutional conditions for all 1,600-plus individuals housed at the jail and its adjacent custodial treatment facility." The suit has received amicus support from the Fraternal Order of Police for the District of Columbia Department of Corrections.
Comprehensive recommendations for how governments should respond in order to help ameliorate the harm of COVID-19 to those in our criminal legal system.
BPDA is collecting resources to assist legal aid and defense attorneys in the representation of their clients.
FAMM is providing multiple resources, particularly focused on the currently incarcerated. Families of incarcerated may request assistance.
NACDL is collecting resources to assist attorneys with clients detained during the COVID-19 crisis.
NDAA and CNA have partnered during the COVID-19 pandemic to arm prosecutors with effective best practices and targeted resources to keep their communities and those in the criminal justice system safe and secure.
NLADA is collecting resources to assist legal aid and defense attorneys in their representation of clients.
The training division for the federal defenders is offering webinars and other resources to aid in the representation of people incarcerated during the crisis.
NCSC is tracking the response by state courts for jury trials, courthouse entrance, in-person proceedings, deadline extensions, and use of digital technology.
The Brennan Center is tracking formal policy changes of all federal, immigration, and state courts.
The Marshall Project is tracking how correctional systems are changing visitation policies in response to COVID-19.
Fair Trials is tracking how criminal justice systems around the world are responding to COVID-19.
PERF is tracking how law enforcement agencies are responding to COVID-19.
Vera and Community Oriented Correctional Heath Services have created a series of fact sheets to guide the responses of actors in the criminal legal system.
The Deason Center is documenting how local criminal justice systems are responding to COVID-19. This information will be used for future research and campaigns.