Being a criminal defense lawyer is not a easy job. The zeal, passion, and skill don't always lead to a win, a term that's very relative. But when they do, boy is that the most rewarding feeling and the best motivation to keep fighting the fight for your clients. Today was one of those days when justice was truly served.
Since late-April, I have been representing Tigran, a 45-year old father of 6 in a white collar matter in the Northern District of California. I spent tireless days and nights fighting for compassionate release under the First Step Act due to COVID-19 so that my client's sentence would be reduced and he would be freed from prison. After three weeks and multiple extensive briefings the court granted my motion today for Tigran's release and he will come home to his family by the end of the week. I can only imagine the elation that he and his family feel.
Tigran is young but suffers from multiple chronic illnesses recognized by the CDC as more vulnerable to severe illness, morbidity and mortality if infected with the COVID-19 virus. While in custody, despite his dangerously elevated blood pressure, he was not monitored or treated since early Dec. 2019. He was sentenced on a racketeering charge to 15 months in prison of which he's already served more than half. He was housed in a Bureau of Prisons facility in Merced, CA where no COVID-19 testing have been conducted even though at least one inmate and seven staff had complained about symptoms. And yet the government argued that this facility is virus-free and a safe place to be. Disingenuous much? How can you make this argument with no testing, and with respect to a vulnerably ill inmate? You can't, and the judge agreed.
So many inmates across the nation like Tigran should not be incarcerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a death sentence for those who suffer from chronic illnesses recognized by the CDC. It is inhumane and a violation of the 8th amendment. My wish for them is a safe journey through justice during this pandemic. I will continue to do my part to fight the fight and seek release for as many as I can.