Compassionate Release Granted While Vaccinated: Bozon

The District Court in Bozon granted a compassionate release even though she was vaccinated and also offered an important practice tip.

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Bozon’s Underlying Case and Post-Trial Actions

Bozon-Pappa (Bozon) was found guilty in 1996 for her work in a drug trafficking enterprise.  She was ultimately sentenced to life and five years of supervised release.  She engaged in several post-conviction actions but was denied. 

Bozon’s Motion for Compassionate Release While Vaccinated

Bozon filed for a compassionate release alleging that her history of obesity and smoking, advanced age and ethnicity qualified for extraordinary and compelling reasons for a release. 

She asserted that she was vaccinated but argued that “CDC guidance warns that research shows the vaccine may not even be effective on people with obesity.”  She further argued that the vaccine she received may not immunize against variants and strains of the virus. 

She further indicated that she would voluntary leave the United States and return to her home country of Colombia and live with her eldest daughter.  The relevant ICE authorities indicated that they agreed to expedite her removal to Colombia. 

The government opposed the motion, alleging she had been fully vaccinated and Bozon’s concerns about the vaccine’s inefficacy in obese persons and/or against new strains is not well founded. 

“In support of this argument, the Government discusses a report by Dr. Soumya Swaninathan of the World Health Organization, but the URL it provides for the Report does not exist. (Id.) It further discusses a Wall Street Journal article, but cites only the generic “wsj.com” rather than providing a link to the actual article. (Id.) Finally, it cites an article on “TheConversation.com” without providing a link to the actual article.” 

Bozon replied with a response that included an affidavit from a doctor stating obesity likely also decreases the effectiveness of the vaccine because obese individuals are likely to produce fewer antibodies in response to the vaccine. 

Court Found Compassionate Release Appropriate

Both sides agreed the exhaustion requirement had been met. The court also found that extraordinary and compelling circumstances were met based on her underlying medical conditions in conjunction with the risk of receiving COVID-19 in prison. 

The court also noted that at least one court had found that a vaccinated prisoner established extraordinary and compelling reasons for compassionate release.  This compassionate release while vaccinated was founded in United States v. Manglona, Case No. CR 14-5393RJB.  Finally, the court noted that Bozon and the government both agreed that Bozon did not present a danger to others or the community, and that the 3553(a) factors supported Bozon’s release. 

The court granted the compassionate release and reduced her sentence to time served.  Bozon was also ordered to be surrendered to Homeland Security for removal.   95-00084

Jeremy’s Notes: 

This case gives rise to an important practice tip:  If you are citing a study or research or a paper, it is important to include that document as an exhibit.  We have done this with Sentencing Commission Studies, Lancet articles, and even news articles when possible.  URL’s may change or get mistyped, so this is a way to make sure that the court receives what you are trying to give them. 

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