5
May

Habeas Corpus Petition and Request for Compassionate Release

Roughly a year ago, a client contacted North Star seeking an appeal of his sentence, which would require him to remain in the Minnesota State Prison system for at least four full years. He had entered a plea of guilty in Minneapolis to first degree narcotics offenses, and while the basis for his plea was strong–the evidence of his acquisition of a large amount of uncut methamphetamine was overwhelming, and his co-defendants (all of whom received probationary sentences) were prepared to testify against him. His attorney at the time indicated he’d prepare a motion for a downward departure from a long guidelines sentence in prison to years of probation, but that effort was completely unsuccessful. This client reached out too late for a direct appeal of his plea and sentencing, and habeas corpus litigation on these types of cases are notoriously difficult to win; indeed, most district court judges dismiss the effort without so much as a formal hearing. The North Star team succeeded in getting the attention of the client’s sentencing judge, and even got confirmation that the client’s declining health removing Boot Camp (a program that cuts as much as 80% of a client’s sentence in prison to house arrest and conditional release) was a serious matter, the Court found that it lacked jurisdiction to modify its own sentence since the Department of Corrections maintains exclusive (and unfair, to our minds) control over a person once he or she has entered a state prison. Creativity and skill at litigation would be at peak value, in this matter, once that decision was delivered….

Restrictions arising from the recent Coronavirus pandemic have opened many ears, both at the Department of Corrections and District Courts, both State and Federal, but it still remains incredibly difficult to secure release of inmates regardless of how morbid their condition. Simply put, once imprisoned, it takes a massive push to secure a release. However, in the petition pursuant to Habeas Corpus and for Compassionate Release, the North Star team convinced the Department of Corrections that the safest and best way forward was with freedom in hand for the client. He received notice on April 30 that he’ll be released to his family, as if he’d completed the in-custody portion of his sentence (many many months early!), and he can now visit his doctors on his time, of his choice, to begin the therapies that will keep him alive and free from this deadly pandemic. 

We cannot predict the long-term impact of this particular coronavirus, any more than we can predict the weather or the next election. What North Star can do, without fear of misstatement, is litigate the hell out of your or your loved one’s case, in prison or out, pretrial or post… to secure the absolute highest degree of equity and justice. We stand ready to kick down the doors of the courthouse, wherever that may be and in whichever jurisdiction (state or federal, pending pro hac vice admission), at your discretion. These results are rare, we admit, and they are damned hard to obtain, but nothing ventured, nothing changes. Contact the staff today and start your investigation. 

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