District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood denied a request from Vincent Lujan, who asked to be released from federal detention over COVID-19 concerns.
Lujan asked the court to reduce his sentence so he could be released.
Lujan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine hydrochloride on Oct. 12, 2018, documents state.
He was sentenced in June 2019 to 78 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release. He’s serving his sentence in Oregon and is expected to be released in July 2024, documents state.
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Lujan asked the warden for compassionate release in August but was denied. He then filed a motion with the court seeking reduction in his sentence.
He argued that his race and medical conditions put him at risk of severe COVID-19 illness and presented an “extraordinary and compelling” reason warranting his release.
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The judge found that CDC doesn’t recognize race itself as a risk factor for COVID-19 and general characteristics like race and age only constitute a reason for sentence reduction when they are coupled with health conditions that make a prisoner unusually vulnerable to COVID-19 illness.
Lujan said he suffers from obesity, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes and asthma. A review of his medical records showed he does suffer from obesity and hypertension and has type-2 diabetes, but there was no evidence he has asthma, documents state.
Numerous district courts have recently denied compassionate release on motions made by defendants with similar conditions as Lujan, Tydingco-Gatewood wrote.
She found his medical conditions don’t present an extraordinary and compelling reason for the reduction in sentence.
The judge also looked at the current COVID-19 infection rate at his prison facility and found there wasn’t a high rate of infection and there were measures to reduce risks.
Tydingco-Gatewood wrote that Lujan also has served only about 28% of his sentence and he conspired to distribute about 111.2 grams of meth, and reducing his sentence would not reflect the seriousness of the offense.