Brief of Amici Curiae Public Defender Service and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Appellant.
Argument: First, the D.C. COVID-19 Emergency Act authorized compassionate release for "extraordinary and compelling" reasons not specifically enumerated in the statute, including a prisoner's heightened vulnerability to COVID-19. Second, courts must consider all relevant evidence in assessing the defendant's vulnerability to COVID-19, regardless of whether the defendant's particular medical conditions have been identified by the CDC as clear risk factors for severe illness from COVID-19. Third, good time credit counts toward the percentage of the sentence served under the statute. Fourth, rulings on compassionate release motions are subject to ordinary appellate review for abuse of discretion.
Brief of Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Appellants, Supporting Reversal.
Argument: The district court's expansive, extraterritorial interpretation of the Military Extrajudicial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA) on which each of the convictions below rests, violates the presumption against extraterritoriality, is contrary to the plain language of the statute, and gave rise to precisely the sort of problems inherent in extraterritorial prosecutions. The district court's expansive interpretation of the venue statute is not supported by the plain language of the statute, permitted unrestrictive forum shopping, and exceeded constitutional venue limitations. The district court's decision to deny the appellants' motion for a new trial based on a key trial witness's new statement, which fundamentally contradicted both that witness's trial testimony and the government's theory of the case at trial, was an abuse of discretion. The prosecution of Mr. Slatten for first degree murder, only after he successfully defeated the government in this court on lesser charges, raises troubling questions of prosecutorial vindictiveness.