United States v. Beam
United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama
506 F. Supp. 3d 1192, Case No. 4:17-cr-00463-MHH-GMB-1 (2020)
In August 2018, Jamie Beam (plaintiff) was sentenced to 168 months in prison on drug charges, with an expected release date in 2030. Beam’s sentence was enhanced because she had one criminal-history point from a prior felony. Beam was incarcerated at a large federal prison in Alabama. Beam suffered from severe obesity, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, and hypothyroidism. In January 2020, after Beam’s medical condition deteriorated, Beam was designated as a chronic-care inmate. Shortly after, the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Beam’s medical issues greatly increased her chances of contracting a serious or fatal case of COVID-19. As the COVID-19 pandemic worsened, prisoners were five and a half times more likely to be infected, and three times more likely to die, than the general population. Beam filed a petition in federal district court for compassionate release, arguing that her heighted risk of death from COVID-19 constituted an extraordinary and compelling reason sufficient to justify an early release. When Beam filed her petition, she had already served approximately two years in prison and had no disciplinary record. The United States (defendant) countered, arguing that Beam’s sentence reflected the severity of her crime and was necessary to act as a deterrent.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Haikala, J.)
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