What to know about Pennsylvania and New Jersey Governors’ executive order to release from county jail and state prisons.
Recently Pennsylvania and New Jersey Governors Tom Wolf and Phil Murphy signed executive orders which makes thousands of inmates eligible for temporary release in both states. The process in Pennsylvania and New Jersey is very similar and releases will begin next week. According to these orders, releases will be granted on a case by case basis. The orders target defendants who are 65 years of age or older and anyone with the following issues:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Pregnant women
- Inmates with chronic disorders such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or other ailments that make them more vulnerable to serious Corona virus complications
All eligible inmates will undergo medical screening to assure that they are not already positive for the corona virus prior to release. Right now, they are at least 11 inmates and 6 correctional officers at one Pennsylvania prison who have tested positive for the corona virus.
Why You Need To Contact A Criminal Defense Lawyer
It is important to understand that you and your family should never assume that your loved one will be eligible for immediate release even if they fit the criteria. You should contact a criminal defense lawyer and a formal motion should be filed with the Court of Common Pleas for that county.
If your loved one is currently charged with a violent felony offense such as robbery, burglary or aggravated assault, it is extremely important that your criminal defense lawyer persuade the court that he or she is not violent despite the charges and does not pose a danger to the community. This is a critical factor that a judge will use to determine release.
In addition to violent felonies, if your loved one is charged with felony offense such as possession with the intent to deliver drugs or narcotics or an illegal gun or firearm charge, your criminal defense lawyer must demonstrate that the accused doesn’t present a flight risk. While a court will consider the corona virus as a basis for any of these motions for release, your criminal defense lawyer must be able to argue that his or her client can satisfy the other conditions normally associated with bail which include the following:
- Contacts with the community
- A lack of propensity toward violence
- Few, if any, prior bench warrants
- Employment history
Who Else Is Eligible For Release
Finally, the orders apply to anyone whose sentence is set to expire in the next 3 months or who was otherwise denied parole this past year. Our law firm has filed a number of motions for clients and their families with great success. State prisons and county jails are ideal breeding grounds for the spread of the virus and this forms a strong constitutional basis for release based on the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution along with Article 1, Section 13 of the Pennsylvania Constitution and Article 1, Paragraph 12 of the New Jersey Constitution.
For more information on COVID-19 issues as they relate to your constitutional rights keep reading this blog.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in PA & NJ
Please click here to contact our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers. We offer free case reviews and serve the following areas in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Atlantic City, Camden, Cherry Hill, Chester, Conshohocken, Doylestown, Media, Norristown, Philadelphia, Pottstown, Salem, Upper Darby, Upper Merion, Upper Providence, Vineland & Woodbury areas.