Updated: Aug 17
I thought ruling on a compassionate release request was about a person's health and well-being and not if the Judge and Prosecutor feel the person requesting a compassionate release has learned their lesson. These past four months of dealing with compassionate release have felt like the hardest four years of my life. My husband Chris and I knew going into compassionate release we had a harsh Judge to face. At sentencing, Judge Messitte was unkind, abrupt, and had an intolerance for white-collar crimes. I made the assumption the Judge would be fair, not vindictive. Well, I was proven wrong. I am writing this because of how and why my husband was denied. It is in my eyes, spiteful and disgusting.
In the Judge's memorandum, my husband's cancer is not even acknowledged because magically, the lab work on my husband's biopsy suddenly disappeared from the prison medical records. When will the Federal Bureau of Prisons be held accountable for their behind the scenes dirty handy work and when will the Department of Justice be held responsible for their criminal behavior?
Early April of this year, I encouraged my husband to file for compassionate release because of the Covid-19 Pandemic. He was apprehensive, but I was concerned that with his Chronic Kidney failure due to the Medical neglect at FCI Florence and his hypertension if he contracted this potentially deadly virus, he would not be able to fight it off. My husband filed his request with the warden on April 10, 2020, a week later, the medical doctor at the prison told Chris it appears that Chris's prior thyroid cancer had metastasized.
We had applied for a lawyer through FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums). On April 27, 2020, we were presented with a great gift of being matched with a lawyer who agreed to take on my husband's case pro bono. One of the most feating tasks was obtaining my husband's medical records from the BOP. It took several weeks to retrieve my husband's medical records. Once we received the medical records, we had an endocrinologist review my husband's records, and she wrote her opinion.
My husband needed a PET scan, but nobody was allowed to go to outside medical appointments during the pandemic. For three months, we waited in angst as my husband continued to lose weight, became weaker, and felt sick daily until he was finally taken for his PET Scan. The lawyer had already filed the motion for compassionate release. My husband is due to be released on September 16, 2020, so we were only looking for him to come home a couple of months early. We were not for the shits of it wanting him home; we felt a desperate need to avoid COVID where the prisons had become the breeding ground and Petrie dish for this potentially deadly virus.
We are grateful to know that my husband's cancer is contained in the tissue surrounding his thyroid, and it can be treated. The PET scan also showed a large lesion on his right kidney; we won't know what that is or how to handle it until he comes home. My husband was denied compassionate release on August 6, 2020, by Judge Peter Messitte. Just a week prior, a fellow advocate and friend messaged me, saying she noticed that my husband Chris had the same Judge as her husband and that he was "wicked." Her words brought some comfort to me because I thought it was only my husband he hated, and her husband thought it was only black people that Judge Messitte hated. Judge Messitte is not a fair Judge, but he is equal in having disdain for everyone who has committed an offense.
My husband has faced his consequences and served his sentence with such courage and dignity. He has worked hard on redemption and himself. He is extremely remorseful for his crime. He has spent the past four-years writing in several journals to figure out how he steered out of his "lane." His self-therapy and discovery have been painful but successful. But the prosecutors would not know this because they do not know my husband; all they see is his crime, not him as a human being. The Prosecutor wrote in her opposition: "At sentencing, the Government, the defendant, and the Court agreed that a sentence of 80 months' incarceration was sufficient but not greater than necessary to provide general and specific deterrence and protect the community. There is simply no evidence that the time he has served thus far has been sufficient to achieve these goals. If anything, the defendant's newly claimed medical problems reflect he continues to be an opportunist who shows no remorse for his conduct. (This shattered my heart.) Additionally, my husband did not agree to 80 months; he was like all other 96% incarcerated in the Federal Prison System; he was strong-armed into taking a plea.
Judge Messitte was not ruling on compassionate release. He was ruling on whether he felt my husband spent enough time in prison. Judge Messitte had no regard or concern for my husband's life; he only wanted to sock it to him again by stating in his memorandum. " In any event, as previously noted, Camut is slated to enter a Residential Reentry Center in a matter of weeks. During the course of his stay in this less restrictive setting, he will have ample time to reflect more deeply on the effect of his crime upon his victims and not just the effects on himself."
I ask without knowing or speaking to my husband, how can anyone make these cruel, hateful, and unfactual statements? It was also stated in the Prosecutor's opposition that my husband did not puke his guts out as to how remorseful he is for his crime in his compassionate release request. It is not a requirement to submit an essay with your compassionate release request pouring out one's remorse.
I am ecstatic for everyone who has been granted compassionate release as it helps us see that there may be hope for our Justice system. I am ecstatic for everyone who has been granted compassionate release as it helps us see that there may be hope for our Justice system. My heart hurts, and I am angry for those of us left behind by an unreasonable Judge. As much as Judge Messitte has disdain for a white-collar offender, his vindictiveness should never cloud his judgment on the value of human life.
A small excerpt from one of my husband's Journals
" I have failed-professionally and personally-at every turn in my life, saved only by the redemptive grace of Jesus Christ. I have failed my God, my family, and my organizations in private. In public, and in trying ways. If you're looking for the perfect person to carry the day, or the perfect moment to get your ass off the couch-neither is coming. Men are not angels; we are all fallen. Every human being is capable of wonderful goodness, but also utter wickedness; and if we each were judged by our lowest moments in life, we'd all be destined for the gates of hell. These flaws and the other complications and excuses of life will always give a reason not to act, not to change, and not to fight. They represent our inner resistance-they make cowards of even the strongest men. Overcoming our failures, temptations, weaknesses, and excuses require being humble about them and owning them."