High risk medical conditions result in release.

May 25, 2021

High Risk Medical

Marshall v. United States

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk Division

2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96563

Compassionate release granted to inmate with high risk health conditions 

On May 30, 2001, a jury convicted Leonard Paul Marshall of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and on September 28, 2001, he was sentenced to a three-hundred and sixty (360) month term of imprisonment, with ten (10) years of supervised release. To date, Marshall has served approximately 20 years of his 30-year sentence, which equals roughly 67%. On August 288, 2020, Marshall filed for compassionate release, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as his chief reason for doing so.

Marshall is obese, has stage 2 chronic kidney disease, hyperlipidemia, and several additional ailments placing him at increased risk of severe illness should he contract COVID-19. Though ordered by the Court to do so, the Government failed to respond to his request for compassionate release.

At the time of Marshall’s sentencing, the sentencing guidelines were not yet advisory, requiring the court to impose a mandatory 360-month sentence. Throughout his incarceration, Marshall has maintained consistent employment, completed numerous educational courses and trainings, and has very few disciplinary infractions. Additionally, Marshall was able to provide  several support letters from community leaders and various members of his family, reflecting the fact that he has strong, positive ties to the community.

When examining his case, the court noted that Marshall is, in fact, particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. The CDC lists chronic kidney disease as a condition that “can make you more

likely to get severely ill from COVID-19.” Additionally, the medical records indicate that Marshall’s BMI of 30.1, makes him clinically obese. According to the CDC, “[t]he risk of severe COVID-19 illness increases sharply with elevated BMI.” Marshall’s medical records further demonstrate that he suffers from high cholesterol, severe hearing loss, and other ongoing ailments.

When the court examined all aspects of the case, it found that because Marshall has at this point served 20 years of his sentence, has demonstrated good conduct, rehabilitation, has a strong support system, and is at high risk of fatal consequences were he to contract COVID-19, a reduction in sentence to time served was warranted. Therefore, Marshalls’ request for compassionate release was granted.