Federal Pro Se Compassionate Release Toolkit - FAMM

Federal Pro Se Compassionate Release Toolkit

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts compiled a template for a compassionate release motion that individuals can fill out and file pro se (on their own, without an attorney). FAMM has compiled a list of resources to assist people who decide to file for compassionate release pro se. There is a particular emphasis on individuals who received CARES Act home confinement, as we have paused our survey for that clearinghouse and understand that many people on home confinement are considering their options. The  resources in the toolkit include: (1) instructions on the template with a link to the template motion itself, (2) a checklist to help you explain your “extraordinary and compelling circumstances,” (3) a memo on the status of CARES Act Home Confinement, and (4) additional resources you may want to reference in explaining CARES Act home confinement.

FAMM has compiled these resources to assist people who have made their own decision to file for compassionate release Pro Se. As a reminder, FAMM is not your lawyer and these tools are solely meant as a resource.

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Pro Se Compassionate Release Template Instructions for CARES Act Home Confinement Recipients

DISCLAIMER: Nothing in these instructions or the information contained in the toolkit should be construed as establishing an attorney-client relationship between you and anyone at FAMM. No one at FAMM represents you in an attorney-client capacity. These instructions and the information compiled as part of this toolkit are meant to assist you filling out the template motion on your own behalf, should you choose to do so without the support of legal counsel. 

  1.     Access the Pro-Se Motion for Compassionate Release on the website of the United States Judiciary  at, https://www.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/ao_250_0.pdf
  2.     Review the template Motion;
  3.     Fill in any and all relevant information to your case in the template Motion;
  4. Part I asks for standard information related to your case (your sentence, projected release date (that is the date shown as your release date on the BOP Inmate Locator), etc.)
  5. Part II asks questions related to exhaustion
  6. Before you can file a motion in court, you must (1) make a request with the Warden or halfway house; and (2) wait 30 days for a rejection or no reponse.
  7. Although the form directs you to include information about a request to the Warden and your FIC, people who are on home confinement can answer these questions “yes” if you have made a request to the Director of your halfway house. You should attach to this motion any documentation of the request that you made to the Director of the halfway house;
  8. Part II asks questions related to your grounds for relief
  9. Subpart B – Go to question III.B. on page 4, if you think there are extraordinary and compelling reasons in the list, you can  mark “yes,” and check any boxes that apply to your case of the boxes listed.
  10. If you are on CARES Act home confinement and believe that to be an “extraordinary and compelling circumstance” on its own, check the final box to show that you believe “[t]here are other extraordinary and compelling reasons for my release”;
  11. In the box at the top of page 5 which allows you to explain the basis for your compassionate release request, include any information that you think the court should know that is relevant to your case. The document, “Your extraordinary and compelling circumstances is meant to assist you in considering what circumstances you may want to explain.
  12. You can also include a description of the CARES Act home confinement circumstances, and why these circumstances may present an “extraordinary and compelling” reason to reduce your sentence. NOTE: As of 12/21/2021, the OLC updated its guidance on home confinement. The updated memo is here, and also included below in additional resources.
  13. You can either type this information into the PDF template, or you can attach your explanation as a separate document. If you attach your explanation as a separate document, make sure to write in the blank box “see attachment.”
  14. If and only if you list your explanation as a separate attachment, in question IV, add to the list of documents, “Explanation of my Extraordinary and Compelling Circumstances” and select “yes” that you have attached the document. Whether or not you want to request to seal this document is a determination that you must make for yourself based on the information you have described in your own document;
  15. Part V gives you the option to request appointment of legal counsel. As a reminder, FAMM does not represent you in an attorney-client relationship. If you would like to have counsel appointed, please select “yes.” It is always beneficial to have legal counsel, so we recommend requesting appointment of counsel.

[PLEASE NOTE: if you were sentenced in the Eleventh Circuit – Alabama, Florida, Georgia – your sentencing court is only able to consider requests for compassionate release based on the factors set out here. That means the court cannot grant compassionate release based solely on home confinement status or other factors.]

  1.     Make sure that you print out the attachment, “Explanation of My Extraordinary and Compelling Reasons” and send it in to the court along with the template motion. Do NOT send these instructions as part of your motion to the Court.

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Additional Resources

FAMM has compiled resources that may help you in drafting your pro se motion for compassionate release, should you choose to do so. These documents were prepared as a tool and are not intended to suggest or create an attorney-client relationship.

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