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MGO 20-14 Appointment of Counsel for Compassionate Release Effective April 22, 2020

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

On December 21, 2018, the President signed into law the First Step Act of 2018, Pub. L. No 115-391, 132 Stat. 5194 (2018), which revised 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1) to allow certain defendants to seek relief from their federal sentences. Specifically, defendants may now file motions for compassionate release with district courts after exhausting their administrative remedies. The Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Alaska reports that it has been contacted by multiple federal defendants who wish to file motions for compassionate release in the District of Alaska pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A).

Pursuant to the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C.§ 3006A(a)(1) and (c), and because of the need to process motions or petitions efficiently, the Court hereby appoints the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Alaska to represent any defendant previously determined to have been entitled to appointment of counsel, or who was previously represented by the Office of the Federal Public Defender at the district court level through the completion of sentencing, or who is now indigent, to determine whether the defendant is eligible to petition the Court for compassionate release in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) and to file any petitions, motions, or applications relating thereto.

In the event the Office of the Federal Public Defender is unable to represent a defendant, attorneys serving on the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the District of Alaska may be appointed to determine whether the defendant is eligible to petition the Court for compassionate release and to
file any petitions, motions, or applications relating thereto.

Further, the Clerk’s Office will notify the Office of the Federal Public Defender in a timely fashion of all pending pro se motions and petitions seeking compassionate release, so the Office of the Federal Public Defender can assume timely representation, if appropriate.

The United States Probation Office for the District of Alaska and the Clerk’s Office are authorized to disclose Presentence Investigation Reports, Modified Presentence Investigation Reports, Statements of Reasons, Judgments, and any relevant sealed documents to the Office of the Federal Public Defender or appointed counsel to determine eligibility for compassionate release and preparing motions for compassionate release.

To enable the Office of the Federal Public Defender or appointed counsel to determine eligibility and prepare compassionate release petitions, the Court directs the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska to facilitate the process for the Office of the Federal Public Defender or appointed counsel to obtain the most recent and relevant documents, including, but not limited to: the defendant’s medical records, progress report, sentence computation form, financial responsibility form, inmate education data, disciplinary data, and inmate profile. To the extent necessary, the Office of the Federal Public Defender or appointed counsel will assist such a defendant in executing a release form authorizing the Bureau of Prisons to disclose institutional records to the Office of the Federal Public Defender or appointed counsel.

DATED this 22nd day of April, 2020
/s/ Timothy M. Burgess
Hon. Timothy M. Burgess
Chief United States District Judge