Florida District Court Grants Compassionate Release: Bronner
FACTS: Drug Seller With Serious Liver Problems
Bronner was incarcerated and serving a 120-month sentence for possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base. Bronner’s release date was previously set for November 2, 2026. Bronner sought a compassionate release because of a serious deteriorating liver condition and because of the risk that he would die if he were to contract COVID-19. The warden denied his reduction.
The District Court determined that Bronner’s advanced liver condition was an appropriate stand-alone basis for compassionate release without regarding to COVID-19. The record reflected that Bronner had sever cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis B and hypertension. Bronner also had a stroke while he was already hospitalized to remove fluid from his abdomen. Further, the hospital advised the U.S. Marshals to “to prepare for end of life care upon his return to [the] jail facility due to the severity of his cirrhosis and the likelihood that his condition will continue to worsen.”
The court stated that an FMC is attentive to his medical needs and offers treatment, routine monitoring and outside rereferrals, but he continues to suffer complications from his liver disease.
Extraordinary and Compelling Reasons
The court determined that this liver disease fit the definition of a terminal illness under U.S.S.G. 1B1.13 because he is suffering from “a serious and advanced illness with an end of life trajectory.” That and the statement that the hospital asked the Marshals to prepare for “end of life care” rose this to the level of terminal illness as defined by the Guidelines.
The court also determined that Bronner was not a danger to the community. Although his crime involved drugs, there was no evidence that Bronner used force or threats of violence. The court also acknowledged that he had ties to the community.
18 U.S.C. 3553(a) Factors
The court stated that a reduction to 62 months imprisonment was appropriate. This would leave him with some time left on his sentence. The court stated that a time served sentence would not meet the needs of 3553(a). The court acknowledged that this was his second federal conviction and his eighth felony conviction. Bronner’s sentence was 120 months because it was the statutory mandatory minimum. Absent that, his guideline range was 51-71 months.
The court granted a reduction under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(1)(A). 3:19-cr-109-MMH-JRK, 3:17-cr-063-MMH-JRK