United States v. Harris (3rd Cir. July 2020), UNPUBLISHED
Sentencing – A warden’s denial of an inmate’s request for compassionate release under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(1)(A) does not require the inmate to exhaust his administrative remedies before he can file a motion for release directly with the court. An inmate may file a motion directly with the court after 30 days have elapsed from the warden’s receipt of his request, regardless of the warden’s response.
Harris filed a motion under 28 U.S.C. 2241, which the district court construed as a motion for compassionate release under 18 USC 3582(c). The court denied the motion based on Harris’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies and because 30 days had not elapsed from the warden’s response.
Harris filed a motion for reconsideration after the warden denied his request. The government argued, and the district court agreed, that the warden’s denial within 30 days meant that Harris had to fully exhaust his administrative remedies through the BOP before he could file a motion for compassionate release with the court. On appeal, the government conceded that its previous arguments were in error, and the Court of Appeals agreed.
The Court concluded that an inmate may bring a motion directly to the court either after exhausting his administrative remedies or after 30 days elapse from the warden’s receipt of the request for compassionate release, whichever is earlier and regardless of the warden’s response. The Court remanded for the district court to proceed on the merits.
Appeal from the Western District of Pennsylvania
Per Curiam opinion by Shwartz, Restrepo, and Greenberg
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