Question: Should we file for judicial release again or wait? He was convicted of felonious assault and sentenced to 4 years. He has served 2 years and 2 months. Filed for Judicial Release twice but denied without hearing.He was a first time offender. There was a fight between he and his sister’s boyfriend. There have been no issues during time served. Previously he was a model citizen. He worked, owned his own home, and was the caregiver for mother. He was also a role model & backbone for the family. Lawyers have been hired twice to file judicial release. They all say it is promising yet keep being denied from the judge. His mother is getting close to age 90 and the family is trying hard to keep everything going for him. Should we file for judicial again.. spending more money just to be denied again or is there even the most slight chance if judicial filed again may get him out..or just wait out the 4 yr term.
Answer: It’s important to remember that judicial release is always discretionary for a judge. Having said that, with the limited facts at hand it does appear that he is a good candidate for judicial release. That’s why the attorneys are saying it’s “promising.” It can take a few attempts to get judicial release so don’t get discouraged.
As you may know, an inmate with a sentence less than 5 years may file for judicial release after 6 months of incarceration. The sentence was 4 years but the judge could have sentenced up to 8 years for felonious assault. Keeping this in mind, the judge likely gave a 4 year sentence so that judicial release could happen at some point.
At our office, we usually advise people not to file for judicial release more than twice a year or within 6 months of a denial. You don’t state how long it has been since the last filing/denial, but there is still plenty of time to try with nearly 2 years pending on his sentence.
While I understand the legal costs can be daunting, hiring a firm with experience in writing and arguing motions for judicial release usually gives the best chance of winning. Another option would be to apply for a public defender. An affidavit of indigency should be available at the correctional facility and he may complete that form to begin the process of getting a public defender.
If you decide to retain more counsel or he applies for a public defender, make sure the next request includes family letters indicating that he is a caregiver for a sick parent, letters from a future employer, and an address of a positive environment that he will live at upon release. Make sure he is doing everything he can to become a better person in prison; go to AA meetings, anger management classes, etc. Show the judge that he should be out because he’s a better, rehabilitated person now and under no circumstances that he’s just “tired of being locked up” or that “his family misses him.”