Unavavailability of Child's Caregiver can be Basis for Compassionate Release: Crumble
In United States vs. Crumble, the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota granted compassionate release to the defendant Cortez Crumble after the death of Crumble’s own mother who was taking care of his three children while he was in prison.
Facts: Crumble is an involved Dad who lost his caregiver
Crumble was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(1) as being a felon in possession of ammunition. Crumble was first released to the halfway house and then to home confinement (pre-trial) after the mother of his three children died unexpectedly.
While Crumble was on home confinement pre-trial, his three children lived with him, Crumble’s mother, and Crumble’s sister in the home owned by Crumble’s mother. Crumble stayed on pre-trial home confinement throughout his eventual trial and even after his conviction. The district court noted Crumble was an incredibly involved father who took an active role in raising his three children all under the age of 12.
Crumble was eventually taken into custody after he left rehab due to multiple positive drug tests for weed. Crumble was sentenced to 63 months in prison which was an upward variance based on his prior 60-month sentence for a separate 922(g) conviction.
At the time of sentencing the district court specifically noted the large role that Crumble played in the lives of his children. The court even said that it understood the primary caretaking role would now fall on the shoulders of Crumble’s mother (grandmother to the kids) when imposing the sentence.
Less than 5 months after Crumble was sentenced, Crumble’s mother unexpectedly died at the age of 52. After Crumble’s mother died his three sons were sent to live with Crumble’s sisters. Unfortunately, the boys needed to be split between two homes due to the special needs (ADHD and emotional issues) of one of Crumble’s sons. The sons were struggling to be taken care of by the sisters who were doing their best under the circumstances.
Crumble file a motion for compassionate release based on these facts and his obesity related to COVID-19. The Government opposed Crumble’s motion.
District Court: Death of Caregiver Serves as Extraordinary and Compelling Reason
Crumble’s children lost their mother, their grandmother, and their father (to prison) all within a two-year span. Crumble’s mother had become the sole primary caretaker of the children when Crumble was sent to prison. After her death, the children were required to be split up and were all suffering as a result in their emotional and academic development.
Under these circumstances, the death of the caregiver of Crumble’s children was an extraordinary and compelling reason to permit a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. Section 3582(c)(1)(A).
The Government had conceded extraordinary and compelling reasons existed in Crumble’s case. As is typical, however, the Government still argued that the Sec. 3553(a) factors DID NOT warrant reducing Crumble’s sentence. The Government argued Crumble was a danger to the community despite his lengthy time on pre-trial release in the case.
The Court called the Government’s bluff here. Crumble spent a lengthy time on release in the community without any new criminal conduct. Crumble did struggle with addiction issues, but the Court was able to address those concerns by requiring Crumble to spend the first 12 months of his supervised release period on home confinement. Crumble’s exemplary prison record also supported a reduction in sentence.
The judge in Crumble’s case truly seemed to understand the real world reasons Crumble had turned his life around:
“However, Crumble’s above-guidelines sentence of 63 months was imposed in part because an earlier 60-month sentence failed to deter him from criminal conduct. Since then, circumstances have changed and left Crumble as the only remaining caregiver for his three children. This vital role in his children’s lives should provide strong motivation for Crumble to remain law abiding and deter him from criminal behavior.”
Crumble’s motion was granted and his sentence reduced to time-served. Crumble is now at home presumably taking care of his children.
What Does the Crumble Case Mean?
Crumble was able to win compassionate release after only serving about 11 months of a 63-month sentence as a repeat offender. Crumble successfully argued that the death of the caregiver of his multiple minor children was an “extraordinary and compelling reason,” under 18 USC Sec. 3582(c)(1)(A) to support a compassionate release.
Crumble was able to make this showing because of a few things. First, his well documented role as a very involved father in the life of his children prior to going to prison. Second, the untimely and unexpected death of the grandmother who was the sole primary caretaker after Crumble was sentenced. Third, the harmful effects of splitting up the children. Fourth, the cumulative effect of losing a mother, a grandmother, and a father within 2 years on the children.
If you want to file a motion for compassionate release based on family circumstances, Crumble is a great roadmap of how to present a successful case.