Last week, the District of Columbia City Council met virtually for the first time in the council’s history. During that meeting, the members of the council voted unanimously to pass a COVID-19 Relief Bill that will provide assistance to, and protect the rights of, citizens stranded in DC prisons as well as those subject to custodial arrest.
If you have been subject to arrest and are required to appear in court to be arraigned, you will have 90 days to appear in court, instead of the non-emergency 15 day requirement. If you have been arrested during this public health emergency for violating a stay-at-home order or for any other reason, contact Scrofano Law. Our attorneys specialize in criminal defense and social distancing law, we are here to help you!
If you have a loved one still incarcerated in a corrections facility for a crime committed prior to August 5, 2000, the COVID-19 Relief Bill calls for good time credit to be retroactively credited toward your loved one’s sentence. Up to 54 days of credit for each year of the sentence has been allowed by the DC City Council. The bill also has set up guidelines for the release of individuals convicted of felony offenses, with some stipulations. The courts have been allowed to modify sentences of defendants if it is determined that the defendant is not a danger to the community, has shown evidence of rehabilitation, has a terminal illness, and is over the age of 60 years old. The bill states that even if a defendant does not fit the age or illness requirement, the court can still modify sentences for other extraordinary or compelling reasons.
Those incarcerated at a corrections facility in DC for a misdemeanor or violation of parole are also welcome to file a motion to have their sentences shortened and their release granted. The COVID-19 Relief Bill does not specifically mention any new requirements in regard to these defendants.
For those that remain in custody of the Department of Corrections, there have been special guidelines put in place. Anyone entering a corrections facility will be subject to a screening, including a survey and temperature check. Additionally, anyone entering a corrections facility, inmates included, will be provided with a surgical mask. Each corrections facility has established an isolation unit for anyone that displays symptoms of, or tests positive for, COVID-19. Finally, movement of inmates has been limited to court appearances, medical appointments, work details, and legal visits.
If you have a loved one that is still being incarcerated by the District of Columbia, please call Scrofano Law immediately and speak with one of our attorneys. Our firm has been diligently filing Rule 35 Motions to convince Judges to reduce sentences and release those defendants that have no business being in a virus infected prison any longer. We have already successfully secured the release of multiple defendants and want to make sure your loved one is not inhumanely exposed to a deadly virus. Stay safe and stay out of trouble DC!