BOP Halfway House Restrictions Rejected

Hip Hip Hooray! A federal court in New York has invalidated the recently changed Bureau of Prisons policy refusing to let inmates go to halfway houses until they have completed 90% of their sentences. The Judge ruled the policy runs afoul of the statute and the agency's own legal analysis. The decision will be published on Wednesday. (article by subscription only.)

On the strength of his findings, Southern District Judge Richard J. Holwell on Wednesday ordered the Bureau of Prisons to reconsider its determination not to assign an inmate serving 2 years in prison for involvement in a money laundering scheme to a halfway house prior to May 2.

On that date, Abraham Zucker, an inmate of a minimum security federal prison in Otisville, N.Y., will have served all but 10 percent of his prison term. If assigned to a halfway house, Mr. Zucker would be able to travel to work during the day but be confined in the evenings. In Zucker v. Menifee, 03-10077, Judge Holwell rejected the Bureau of Prisons' legal analysis, which was based on an opinion issued by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel in December 2002.

....In finding no legal impediment barring the bureau from sending federal inmates to halfway houses for longer than 10 percent of their terms, Judge Holwell reached the same conclusion of at least two of his Southern District colleagues - Judges Denny Chin and Kimba Wood - as well as Eastern District Judge I. Leo Glasser.

Mr. Zucker was represented by Peter Goldberger of Ardmore, Pa., Todd A. Bussert of Naugutuck, Conn. and Richard Willstatter of White Plains. Yes, the same Peter Goldberger that reads and comments on TalkLeft and that won the release of Nick Yarris last week after 22 years spent on death row. Todd Bussert is a regular reader as well. Congrats to both and Mr. Willstatter.

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