- News Release
NACDL Calls on Members to Protect People Accused of Crimes and their Communities from COVID, and Join Fight to Oppose the Trial Penalty – Washington, DC (Dec. 23, 2021) – Two days ago, the Commissioner of New York’s Department of Corrections issued an unprecedented statement regarding the COVID crisis for individuals housed in Rikers Island.
Memorandum of Amici Curiae the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Vermont.
Argument: The COVID-19 pandemic is of unprecedented national and global significance, necessitating a drastic local response. The rate of infection in the Vermont DOC is striking in comparison both to the rate of infection in Vermont as a whole, and even compared to the highest rate of infection for any state in the country. The Department of Corrections is demonstrably ill-equipped to adequately respond to the pandemic, and the Court must intervene to protect the constitutional rights of those incarcerated. The Court should join with judges from other jurisdictions across the country, who have reviewed inmate motions and petitions similar to those that are currently before this Court, and who have taken steps to reduce incarceration by releasing inmates on bail in light of this unprecedented pandemic and the conditions of confinement issues it brings to light.