University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name United States of America v. Kennedy CJ-MI-0009
Docket / Court 5:18-cr-20315-JEL-EAS ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Jail Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: A pre-trial criminal defendant sought a temporary release order on March 26, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The court granted temporary release from custody on March 27, 2020. Another criminal defendant sought release on June 2, which was denied on July 22.

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COVID-19 Summary: A pre-trial criminal defendant sought a temporary release order on March 26, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The court granted temporary release from custody on March 27, 2020. Another criminal defendant sought release on June 2, which was denied on July 22.


The defendant is a pre-trial criminal defendant, indicted a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. The defendant previously had a hearing before a magistrate judge on March 11, 2020, who issued him a detention order because he had violated several conditions of his pretrial release conditions. He was held in Saginaw County Jail. Under 18 U.S.C. ยง 3142(i), after a detainment order, a court is allowed to issue a temporary release if it is necessary for the preparation of the person's defense or for another compelling reason.

After a hearing on March 26, Judge Judith E. Levy ordered the defendant released on March 27, finding that temporary pretrial release was necessary for the compelling reason that it would protect the defendant, the prison population, and the wider community during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the hearing, the defendant was audibly ill with congestion and testified to exhibiting flu-like symptoms. In detention he had no access to hand sanitizer and was only provided a small bar of soap once a week.

Additionally, Judge Levy found that a pretrial release was necessary for preparation of the defendant's pre-sentencing defense. Because visitation at the jail had been suspended, the defendant and his attorney testified that it had been increasingly difficult to communicate and plan for the defendant's pretrial defense. Their communications could only occur over the phone. This was especially difficult because they were unsure that these phone conversations were truly privileged and confidential.

The United States argued that release was improper because there were no known COVID-19 cases at the jail. However, Judge Levy rejected this argument, stating that the seemingly preemptive nature of this release renders it no less compelling - a jail does not have to wait for the defendant to have a confirmed case, or for there to be a major outbreak in the jail.

On March 30, the United States filed a motion for reconsideration, based on the Bail Reform Act, because they were not given a chance to respond to the motion in writing, and because the COVID-19 conditions outside of the jail did not constitute grounds for release. On April 1, the court denied the motion. In the opinion, Judge Levy stated that the United States had the opportunity to give their arguments orally, that their argument for reconsideration did not take into account the growing severity of COVID-19, and that courts are not required to be blind to future harm simply because it has not occurred.

On June 2, another defendant in the underlying criminal case filed an emergency motion for immediate release on bond, which was denied on July 22.

Caitlin Kierum - 06/14/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Bail/Bond
Conditions of confinement
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Release Granted
COVID-19 Release Requested
Plaintiff Description Pretrial criminal detainee in Michigan jail
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Temporary Release from Detention
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 04/19/2018
Case Ongoing Unknown
Docket(s)
5:18-cr-20315-JEL-EAS-3 (E.D. Mich.)
CJ-MI-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/30/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order Temporarily Revoking Detention [ECF# 77] (2020 WL 1493481) (E.D. Mich.)
CJ-MI-0009-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/27/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for Reconsideration of Bond to Keith Kennedy [ECF# 78]
CJ-MI-0009-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/30/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order Denying the United States' Motion for Reconsideration [78] [ECF# 79] (2020 WL 1547878) (E.D. Mich.)
CJ-MI-0009-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/01/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Emergency Motion for Immediate Release on Bond [ECF# 86]
CJ-MI-0009-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/18/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Motion Seeking Coompationate Release Due to COVID-19 [ECF# 90]
CJ-MI-0009-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/10/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Government's Response in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Revocation of Detention Order and Motion for Compassionate Release [ECF# 91]
CJ-MI-0009-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/12/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Reply to Government's Response in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Revocation of Detention Order and Motion for Compassionate Release [ECF# 92]
CJ-MI-0009-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/24/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Striking Pro Se Motions [83, 86] and Denying Motion for Revocation of Detention Order [90] [ECF# 99] (E.D. Mich.)
CJ-MI-0009-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Levy, Judith Ellen (E.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0009-0001 | CJ-MI-0009-0002 | CJ-MI-0009-0008 | CJ-MI-0009-9000
Stafford, Elizabeth A. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0009-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Beck, Julie (Michigan) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0009-0003 | CJ-MI-0009-0006 | CJ-MI-0009-9000
Graveline, Christopher (Michigan) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0009-9000
Schneider, Matthew J (Michigan) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0009-0006
Williams, Jihan M. (Michigan) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0009-0003 | CJ-MI-0009-0006 | CJ-MI-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Kinney, Robert F. III (Michigan) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0009-9000
Longstreet, Charles (Michigan) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0009-0005 | CJ-MI-0009-0007

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