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Federal Bail & Covid-19

A note from the firm

We are living in unprecedented times, and all of us are seeking to adapt to a new reality with the continued spread of COVID-19 and the measures being taken by federal, state and local governments to help curb the spread of the virus.

As criminal defense attorneys, we are doing everything we can to serve our clients, especially those who are most vulnerable. To that end, we are working hard to secure release on bond of many of our clients currently housed at detention facilities such as the MCC New York, the MDC Brooklyn, and other facilities and prisons.

The Bail Reform Act of 1984 provides in pertinent part that a: “judicial officer may … permit the temporary release of [a] person, in the custody of a United States marshal or another appropriate person, to the extent that the judicial officer determines such release to be necessary for preparation of the person’s defense or for another compelling reason.” (18 U.S.C. §3142(i)). In some cases, the danger posed by the COVID-19 pandemic may provide a “compelling reason.” In the face of this public health emergency we are, therefore, seeking to utilize the Bail Reform Act to move U.S. District Courts to release our clients.

We continue to move for the pretrial release of criminal defendants in challenging cases, even those cases that carry a legal presumption of pretrial detention. Informed by our experience and with the aid of the statistics, case data and medical information that our team has been compiling, we are poised to help seek pretrial release as we confront the ongoing threat presented by COVID-19.

Finally, we hope and pray that everyone remains healthy and receives the help they need until this pandemic is overcome.


On April 27th, Mr. Sapone served on a panel of leading federal criminal defense attorneys educating hundreds of lawyers about the fight to move federal courts to grant bail and compassionate release to inmates who are in danger of contracting COVID-19 if they remain in the Bureau of Prisons’ detention facilities and prisons. The webinar, entitled SDNY & EDNY Bail Applications During the Coronavirus Pandemic: Where Do We Stand As May Approaches?, sponsored by the New York Criminal Bar Association, can be found here.

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