The decision on the pre-release of Yani Rosenthal from prison is officially in the hands of New York Southern District Judge John G. Koeltl, as announced last week. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Rosenthal‘s representation, headlined in the South Florida Business Journal by attorney Michael Diaz Jr., is pushing for an early release to keep him as safe and healthy as possible.
Across the United States, many inmates are receiving releases to help cut down on the spread of the virus in prisons. Decisions are made on a case by case basis, considering factors such as time left on a sentence, behavior, health complications, age, and more.
Diaz Jr. believes that his client is a perfect candidate for an early release. His original sentence would have him released in roughly three months anyway, so an early release might be under consideration under normal circumstances. Rosenthal has received praise for his good behavior while locked up, even helping teach finance to other inmates.
Another reason why Diaz Jr. is pushing for an early release comes down to Rosenthal‘s health. Not only is he 54 years old, but he has both sinusitis and dermatitis. This can make him more vulnerable to having complications with COVID-19, if he were to test positive.
An early release would also benefit the Miami Federal Correction Facility. By releasing as many inmates they feel comfortable with, it can cut down the spread of the virus considerably. They can start taking more measures in actively separating inmates and staff so that any outbreaks are contained as quickly as possible. It is becoming more and more of an issue inside a lot of prisons and correction facilities, and South Florida has been particularly hit hard compared to the rest of the state.
If Diaz Jr. is able to get his client out of jail early ultimately, the plan is to allow Rosenthal to travel back to his home in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. However, travel bans could prevent that from happening right away. The alternative is to keep Rosenthal in the Miami area until travel is opened up again. Isolation during this time would be the best bet for his long-term health. It would also make it easier for any post-release checkups as well.
Under normal circumstances, it would be unprecedented to see so many inmates released early from jail so close to each other. However, the pandemic has put a lot of facilities in tough situations. Those that are relatively full are feeling particular pressure to clear out the facilities a bit.
Judge Koeltl received the request soon after blanket shutdowns started hitting all corners of the United States. According to records, the submission officially went through on March 25, but there have been delays across the country in getting anything done in court as they face many COVID-19 related issues as well. Diaz Jr. is hoping that a formal announcement will be made sooner rather than later so that his client can stay as safe as possible.
About Michael Diaz Jr.
Michael Diaz Jr. is a litigation and arbitration attorney based in Miami, Florida. He works with the Diaz Reus International Law Firm and Alliance, serving as a Global Managing Partner. He has over 30 years of experience in many different cases both in the South Florida area, and internationally. Most recently, he has been named to the Chambers Global 2020, Chambers USA 2020, and Best Lawyers USA 2020 list.