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Motion for Reconsideration of Sentence Because of Illness or Infirmity of the Defendant

July 17, 2012

Randolph Wolf recently represented a woman that has been incarcerated since June of 2000 on robbery (N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1), kidnapping (N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2b), conspiracy (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2), and burglary (N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2) charges. Thus far, the client had served a total of 12 years out of her 22-year prison term. The client explained that she had recently been diagnosed with having breast cancer and that prison was having a devastating effect on her health. She stated that she was not provided with preventative or screening treatment. By the time she was finally diagnosed with breast cancer in April of 2011, the tumor was already of a significant size. She also explained that appropriate medical services were not available in prison to treat her illness and that confinement at home, surrounded by her family, would provide her a comfort that can never be provided in the prison hospital.

Randolph Wolf submitted a Motion for Reconsideration of Sentence on behalf of the client. In support of the motion, he argued that the defendant should be released from incarceration pursuant to Rule 3:21-10(b)(2). That rule provides for the amendment of a custodial sentence to permit the release of a defendant because of illness or infirmity. Mr. Wolf argued that a severe depreciation of the client’s health had occurred since the time she was originally sentenced in June of 2000. He argued that several factors, including the serious nature of her illness, the devastating effect of incarceration on the defendant’s health, the availability of appropriate medical services in prison to treat or cope with her illness weighed in favor of granting the defendant a release from prison.

In addition, Mr. Wolf argued that the nature of the crime the defendant committed weighed in favor of release. Mr. Wolf admitted that the nature of the crime the defendant committed was severe. However, he noted that, at the time the defendant committed the offense, she was severely addicted to drugs. Additionally, he explained that despite the fact the she played a relatively minor role in the crime, she was given a much greater sentence than the major participant, who had already been released from incarceration.

The court has yet to rule on Mr. Wolf’s motion. Although courts rarely grant releases from prison due to the defendant’s illness, Mr. Wolf believes that his client should prevail.

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