A federal judge ended a prisoner’s sentence early today in order to allow him to attend his son’s funeral.

May 11, 2021


United States v. Montevecchi

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87909

Inmate near the end of sentence granted compassionate release to attend son’s funeral

An inmate can file for compassionate release, requesting a sentence reduction based on “compelling or extraordinary circumstances”. Reasons for which compassionate release is granted often include health complications or concerns of inmates as well as questions connected to justness of sentencing. However, an even more gut wrenching cause resulted in the court’s recent granting of compassionate release to an inmate: the loss of a child.

In February 2019, Ernest Montevecchi pled guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy and on May 17, 2019, he was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years’ supervised release, with an anticipated release date of August 21, 2021. Montevecchi had been slated for release to a half-way house on April 27, 2021, but because of the Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) mandatory quarantine requirements, his release was rescheduled to June 2, 2021. Despite the fact that Motevecchi tested positive for COVID-19 on November 2, 2020, thus gaining antibodies against the disease, and completed COVID-19 vaccinations on April 7, 2021, the BOP quarantine requirements remain mandatory.

After the death of his child, Montevecchi filed for compassionate release in order to attend the funeral. He argued that, in light of the few months remaining on his custodial sentence, his son’s passing constitutes an “extraordinary and compelling reason” that warrants a reduction of his sentence.

The court agreed, noting that the loss of a child is a “horrible family circumstance” and a “tragic event.” Additionally, the point was made by the court that the grounds for compassion are especially compelling when Montevecchi’s son passed away only a few months before the end of his sentence and two days after the original date for his release to a half-way house were it not for the Bureau of Prisons’ mandatory quarantine requirements.