Modified: May 6, 2020 1:46pm
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that a total of 21 convicted defendants with 45 days or less remaining on their sentences have been released from the custody of Erie County jails in an effort to reduce inmate populations and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Erie County DA Flynn consented to a motion filed by the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo requesting, in the interest of justice, that individuals who have 45 days or less remaining on their sentence be released. A hearing was held yesterday afternoon, allowing two defendants who were convicted of low-level, non-violent offenses to be let out of jail early. The motion was granted on Tuesday by State Supreme Court Justice Deborah A. Haendiges.
DA Flynn previously consented to two other motions requesting the early release of locally jailed defendants. A motion was granted by Erie County Court Judge Susan Eagan on April 7, 2020, allowing for the release of 19 individuals from the Holding Center or the Erie County Correctional Facility. Another motion was granted on April 17, 2020 by State Supreme Court Justice Mark A. Montour, allowing for the release of two more sentenced individuals. All were convicted of non-violent, low-level offenses with 45 days or less remaining on their jail sentences.
“The only way to combat this virus is by distancing ourselves from one another. While the number of people in our jails has been significantly reduced under bail reform, I understand the potential for COVID-19 to spread quickly among inmates and correctional facility employees. In the interest of justice and public health, I consented to the release of these individuals to serve the remainder of their sentence at home,” said Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn.
The Erie County District Attorney’s Office continues to review bail applications submitted by defense attorneys on behalf of pre-trail detainees. The DA’s Office will consent or oppose those motions on a case-by-case basis. As of May 5, 2020, the Erie County District Attorney’s Office has reviewed 101 bail motions. The District Attorney’s Office consented to the release of 25 pre-trial defendants. Another 25 pre-trial detainees had their bail modified.