Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Collins

United States District Court, D. Kansas

January 13, 2020

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
VERLARINA RUTH COLLINS, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          ERIC F. MELGREN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Verlarina Ruth Collins' Motion for Compassionate Release Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) (Doc. 24 in No. 15-10188 and Doc. 19 in No. 17-10061).[1] She seeks early release from prison due to the deterioration of her husband's health and the care of their minor grandchild. For the reasons stated in more detail below, the Court denies Defendant's motion.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         On December 8, 2015, in No. 15-10188, Defendant was charged by Indictment with one count of theft of government property, three counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of making a false statement to the government, and nine counts of wire fraud. On December 12, 2016, Defendant and the government entered into a plea agreement. Defendant agreed to plead guilty to Counts 1 and 2 of the indictment-theft of government property in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641 and aggravated identity theft in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1).

         On February 27, 2017, the Court sentenced Defendant to 45 months of imprisonment and three years supervised release. On April 4, 2017, Defendant requested a three-day stay of execution of her surrender date. The Court granted this motion and ordered Defendant to surrender on April 7, 2017. Defendant failed to surrender on that date, and a bench warrant was issued for her arrest on April 10. She was arrested on April 13, 2017.

         On April 25, 2017, in No. 17-10061, Defendant was charged with one count of failure to surrender for service of sentence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 3146(a)(2). On June 16, 2017, the parties entered into a plea agreement in which Defendant plead guilty to Count 1 of the Indictment. On September 7, 2017, the Court sentenced Defendant to eight months of imprisonment to run consecutive to Defendant's previous 45-month prison sentence.

         On February 20, 2019, Defendant submitted an “Application for Compassionate Release” to the Warden. In this application, she stated that the extraordinary or compelling circumstances that warranted consideration for early release were: (1) an incapacitated spouse and (2) incapacitation of minor child's caregiver. Specifically, Defendant stated that her husband, Mr. Collins, had progressively lost the ability to walk due to a debilitating disease. She stated that he was now dependent on a wheelchair, had a daily nurse help him with bathing and cooking, and the state drove him to his doctor appointments and pain management therapy. Defendant also asserted that Mr. Collins was the sole caregiver of their 13-year old grandson, whom they had taken care of since he was an infant due to the inability of the child's parents to provide and care for him adequately.

         On April 3, 2019, the administrative remedy coordinator at Carswell Federal Medical Center received Defendant's request. On April 9, 2019, the Warden denied her request. In this letter, the Warden informed Defendant that she did not meet the criteria for Compassionate Release/Reduction in Sentence because the medical documentation “does not demonstrate that your spouse suffered a serious injury, or debilitating physical illness and the result of the injury or illness is that the spouse or registered partner is completely disabled.” The letter also informed Defendant that she could appeal the denial through the Administrative Remedy Program.

         Defendant filed a Reconsideration for Compassionate Release Denial on April 28, 2019. In this letter, she referenced the “First Step Act.” She also asked for a chance to obtain her husband's “diagnosed care level” before a decision was made.

         On May 13, 2019, the Acting Warden denied Defendant's reconsideration. Specifically, the letter informed Defendant that “after reviewing the provided medical documentation, it did not demonstrate that Mr. Collins “is completely disabled, cannot carry on any self-care, and is totally confined to a bed or chair.” The Acting Warden informed Defendant that she did “not meet the criteria for Reduction In Sentence/Compassionate Release based on non-medical circumstance - Incapacitation of a Spouse or Registered Partner.” Thus, Defendant's request for administrative remedy was denied. The Acting Warden informed Defendant that she could appeal within 20 days if she was not satisfied with the response.

         Defendant filed an Appeal on May 24, 2019, stating that her husband received Medicaid assistance. She also stated that she requested help in obtaining his diagnosed care level via Medicaid. On June 17, 2019, the Regional Director noted that the medical documentation did not demonstrate Mr. Collins' incomplete incapacitation. Thus, Defendant's Appeal was denied because she did not meet the Reduction in Sentence requirements. Again, the Regional Director stated that Defendant could appeal the decision to the Administrative Remedy Program.

         On July 10, 2019, Defendant appealed and stated that her husband's condition was worsening and that he was in an electric wheelchair. On September 19, 2019, the Administrator of National Inmate Appeals acknowledged Defendant's Appeal. This letter noted Defendant's statement that Mr. Collins' medical condition was worsening and that he required assistance with his daily living needs. The Administrator, however, determined that Defendant did not meet the criteria for a reduction in sentence. Specifically, the letter pointed out the requirement to be met: “debilitating physical illness and the result of the injury or illness is that the spouse or registered partner is completely disabled, meaning that the spouse or registered partner cannot carry on any self-care and is totally confined to a bed or chair.” Furthermore, the Administrator noted that Defendant's “husband's medical condition does not demonstrate that he is unable to care for himself or that he is totally confined to a bed or chair. Moreover, you have not demonstrated how you are the only available caregiver for your husband, as you state he is receiving Medicaid assistance to aid in his daily activities.” Thus, Defendant's Appeal was denied.

         Defendant then sent a letter to this Court requesting a compassionate release. A copy of Defendant's letter, along with the accompanying exhibits, was filed by the Clerk's Office on November 6, 2019, in Nos. 15-10188 and 17-10061, and designated as a Motion for Compassionate Release. Defendant requests a compassionate release based on the same reasons asserted above: (1) Mr. Collins' deteriorating health and (2) Mr. Collins' incapacitation affecting the care of their minor grandson.[2]

         II. Analysis

         The First Step Act, enacted on December 21, 2018, [3] amended the compassionate release statute, 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A), to provide:

Modification of an imposed term of imprisonment. -The court may not modify a term of imprisonment once it has been ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.