Inmate Released from California Jail due to COVID-19 outbreak; Attorneys Rosenfeld & Sawyer filed motion that prompted Judge’s decision

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Mark N. was in federal custody in a California jail awaiting sentencing when COVID-19 was discovered. Criminal defense attorneys Ken Rosenfeld and Allen Sawyer, citing their client’s constitutional rights and arguing for his personal safety, petitioned the court for relief and obtained an unprecedented release from custody.

“The government cannot violate our client’s Fifth Amendment right to due process and Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The judge recognized the danger posed by this virus and the risk to Mark N. if he continued to remain in custody.”

An Illinois man ("Mark N.") who had a history of criminal charges was awaiting sentencing in a California jail when his legal matter radically changed. Mr. N. promptly found himself released from federal custody.

Following 16 months of litigation that resulted in a plea bargain, Mark N. was awaiting sentencing (Case #1:18-cr-00219-DAD-BAM) in federal lockup inside the Kern County Jail in Bakersfield, CA, when three fellow inmates and five correctional guards tested positive for COVID-19.

Mark N.’s defense attorneys, Ken Rosenfeld of The Rosenfeld Law Firm and Allen Sawyer of The Law Offices of Allen Sawyer, immediately interceded on their client’s behalf to United States District Judge Dale A. Drozd of the Eastern District of California, insisting Mark N.’s personal safety was at risk within the virus-infected congregate setting. When Judge Drozd denied the attorneys’ initial motion for extraordinary relief, Sawyer filed a motion for reconsideration. On April 10, Judge Drodz reversed his decision, ordering the immediate release of Mark N.

“The government cannot violate our client’s Fifth Amendment right to due process and Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment,” said Sawyer. “The judge recognized the danger posed by this virus and the risk to Mark N. if he continued to remain in custody.”

The event of Mark N.’s release stands as the first occasion in California in which a federal inmate facing sentencing has been released from custody during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We appreciate Judge Drozd for valuing our client’s rights,” said Sawyer. “This was a case of first impression for California, and the Court got it right.”

His attorneys having secured their client’s release, Mark N. was immediately transferred out of Kern County Jail. He is currently quarantined in California, but will thereafter return to Chicago, where he will remain under house detention.

About California Criminal Defense Attorneys Ken Rosenfeld and Allen Sawyer
The Rosenfeld Law Firm and The Law Offices of Allen Sawyer are located in Sacramento, Stockton, and San Jose.

As California criminal defense attorneys, Ken Rosenfeld and Allen Sawyer aggressively defend a wide range of cases, from first-degree murder to driving under the influence (DUI defense), with a specialty in sex offender defense and political corruption cases.

As criminal law commentators, Rosenfeld and Sawyer have each made a number of appearances on television and radio, including national media. Attorney Ken Rosenfeld can be regularly seen on KTXL TV, FOX40's Ask An Attorney. Their criminal defense law firms practice federal criminal defense and juvenile defense, as well as appellate law, prison law, and mental health law. For more information, please contact the lawyers directly:
Ken Rosenfeld: (916) 447-2070 (http://www.therosenfeldlawfirm.com)
Allen Sawyer: (209) 645-0556 (http://www.allensawyer.com)

Press release writing by WebSiteText and Proofreading Services by The Proofreaders.

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