Opposition to Jordan Jucutan’s early release is ‘misguided and unwarranted,’ his lawyers say

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THE prosecutor’s opposition to Jordan Jucutan’s request for early release is misguided and unwarranted, his attorneys Danielle Pfifferling and Barbara Butterworth told the federal court.

Jucutan, 33 is serving a 28-month prison sentence for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

He said he has underlying medical conditions, obesity and asthma, and has a high risk of contracting Covid-19.

Jucutan is incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan, Oregon.

According to his lawyers, the U.S. government ignores the fact that the term “FCI Sheridan” refers to the 1,516 total inmates who encompass both the 1,108 inmates at the FCI and Federal Prison Camp and the 408 inmates at the federal satellite camp or SCP where Jucutan is housed.

The FCI Sheridan-Bureau of Prisons website describes the prison as “[a] medium security federal correctional institution with an adjacent minimum-security satellite camp and a detention center.”

The lawyers said BOP’s “find an inmate locator” indicates that Jucutan is located at “Sheridan FCI.”

Pfifferling and Butterworth mentioned a declaration from Warden Josias Salazar that, they said, demonstrates that some inmates in SCP Sheridan have been released due to Covid-19, and that Salazar thinks there is a risk to inmates in SCP Sheridan from Covid-19.

Jucutan’s attorneys likewise cited the declaration of James Keller, acting unit manager at FDC Sheridan, stating that 21 inmates from SCP Sheridan have been released under the compassionate releases due to Covid-19, and that the prison has found there is a risk to inmates in SCP Sheridan from Covid-19.

Pfifferling and Butterworth said the Bureau of Prisons cannot prevent or even limit the spread of Covid-19 at FCI Sheridan, FDC Sheridan and SCP Sheridan.

They said Jucutan is certainly not safe at prison and will be much safer at home where he is able to self-isolate.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Garth Backe opposed the early release motion for the following reasons:

1) The defendant is not housed at the main prison of the Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan, Oregon. “Rather, he is housed at the facility’s minimum security satellite camp,” Backe said.

He added that Jucutan is an inmate at the federal satellite camp in Sheridan SCP.

None of the defendant’s arguments “address the specific conditions at SCP Sheridan, as opposed to FCI Sheridan,” Backe said. And the United States could not uncover a single case where an inmate was granted compassionate release from SCP Sheridan — again, as opposed to FCI Sheridan,” he added.

2) The U.S. government “strenuously disputes [the] defendant’s characterization of the Bureau of Prisons’ ability to handle the present situation, in particular, at FCI Sheridan,” Backe said.

“First of all, contrary to [the] defendant’s representations, no staff members at FCI Sheridan have tested positive,” Backe said as of Aug. 17, 2020, “zero employees out of a total of 313 employees have tested positive for Covid-19. In fact, two of the four inmates who tested positive were actually at FDC Sheridan.”

3) Lastly, the U.S. government opposes the motion because Jucutan is proposing to move from a location where there have been zero positive cases (SCP Sheridan) to a place where there have been close to 1,000 (Thurston County, Washington), Backe said.

Citing Jucutan‘s previous presentencing report, Backe noted that the defendant had stated that he had no medical issues and was not allergic to anything.

“A review of the records at the Commonwealth Health Center revealed nothing extraordinary. According to his wife, the defendant is healthy,” the prosecutor said.

Jucutan started serving his sentence on July 17, 2019 and with four months reduction for good time, he will be released on July 11, 2021.

A former Army Reserve member, Jucutan was indicted on the charge of engaging in a scheme to defraud the U.S. government and obtaining money falsely by claiming he referred nominees or potential soldiers to enlist in the Army Reserve through the AR-RAP program and received $2,000 for every nominee that enlisted and went through the training. Jucutan said he recruited a total of 38 nominees.

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