Willkie Secures Compassionate Release For Pro Bono Client in Washington, DC Battling Cancer

October 16, 2020

On September 28, 2020, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia granted Willkie’s motion for compassionate release on behalf of client Mr. S, reducing his sentence to time served.

On September 28, 2020, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia granted Willkie’s motion for compassionate release on behalf of client Mr. S, reducing his sentence to time served. Three days later, Mr. S was released after serving more than 40 years in prison. This represents the culmination of over two years of Willkie representation, through several parole hearings and finally the successful motion for compassionate release.

In 1976, Mr. S was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for assault with intent to kill while armed, assault with a deadly weapon, and carrying a pistol without a license. After serving additional years for a parole violation and separate conviction, Mr. S was given a presumptive reparole date in August 2022. In the compassionate release motion, Willkie argued that at 71 years of age, and battling stage-three prostate cancer, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia, Mr. S was no longer a danger to the community, and detailed the grave threat to Mr. S's life from COVID-19 were he to remain incarcerated. Willkie argued that Mr. S's completion of significant programming, dramatic disciplinary improvement, genuine expressions of remorse and substantial family support demonstrated he was deserving of compassionate release. Over the government’s opposition, the Court agreed with Willkie.

In his freedom, Mr. S's looks forward to joining a Jewish synagogue to complete his conversion to Judaism, working with his brother-in-law at his family home improvement business, and finally getting to hug his adult daughter for the first time.

The Willkie team working on the compassionate release motion included partner Joseph Davis, associates Kenley Joseph and Anna Occhipinti, and Legal Assistants Van Strother and Ann Staron. Stephanie Miner and former associate Mehveen Riaz were instrumental in the parole representations, and Dana Robinson and the MAO helped navigate thorny filing issues. The client came to Willkie through the Washington Lawyers’ Committee.