Squire Patton Boggs Secures Pro Bono Client’s Immediate Release

View Contact / News /Washington DC

A Squire Patton Boggs team secured the immediate release of their pro bono client in the DC Superior Court under the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act (“IRAA”), allowing him to come home after serving two decades in prison.

In 2002 as a young adult of 24 years old, the firm’s client was involved in the tragic murder of another young man and ultimately sentenced to 60 years in prison - a de facto life sentence. Upon entering prison, he resolved to transform his life completely, dedicating his time to bettering himself through, among other things, over 3900 hours of education and programming. Over the past twenty years of incarceration, he also became a mentor and role model to many incarcerated young men, and developed and taught a curriculum in prison to help young men make better life choices. His transformation was evident to everyone around him – including prison staff. Numerous prison officials recognized his rehabilitation, described him as a role model inmate and as someone prepared to become a successful member of society.

The IRAA was enacted by the DC Council in recognition of the new understanding in brain science demonstrating fundamental differences between youth and adults. The statute creates a sentence-reduction mechanism to reduce life / life-equivalent sentences of young offenders under 25 years old who have served at least 15 years in prison, have demonstrated rehabilitation, and established that their release does not present a danger to society. The Court may consider several factors, including the defendant’s participation in the prison’s educational programming, the defendant’s disciplinary record, and the defendant’s maturity and fitness to reenter society since conviction.

A pro bono team from SPB represented the client in briefing his petition for release and presenting oral argument and witnesses at an evidentiary hearing. After considering his profound transformation and accomplishments over the past 20 years in prison, and over the government’s objection, the Court ordered his immediate release from the bench on June 14, 2024. Several days later, his family welcomed him home in D.C.

Corrine Irish led the pro bono team, which consisted of lawyers from across the firm’s U.S. offices, including Nika Cohen (NY), Melanie Cockrum (SF), Margaret Booz, Clara Davis, Wade Erwin (DC), and Elizabeth Trebbien (OH). Partner organizations The Second Look Project and Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia provided vital resources and guidance.

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