The pandemic has had a negative effect on the lives of the vast majority of people. One of the few exceptions is former Chicago narcotics officer Glenn Lewellen, who was convicted of kidnapping and robbing drug dealers.
Lewellen was recently released from federal prison more than six years early because of the threat of coronavirus. Back in 2013, he was sentenced to 18 years on narcotics conspiracy charges after conspiring with a paid informant in eight robberies and kidnappings.
According to testimony at his trial, Lewellen showed up at several robberies wearing his police vest and CPD badge. He apparently secured victims with plastic zip ties and threatened them with violence if they didn’t do as they were told.
According to the Chicago Tribune, prison records show that he wasn’t scheduled to be released from the medium-security facility until late 2026.
In the release order, U.S. District Judge Joan Gottschall noted that the former officer is 64 years old and has health issues (severe obesity, a heart condition and hypertension) that make him especially vulnerable to COVID-19. The judge also stated that she believes that Lewellen has been rehabilitated during his time behind bars.
Prosecutors argued against the release, in part because they said the prison system has adequate medical care to deal with any virus infection.
Gottschall added that though she found “Lewellen’s conduct heinous,” she also believed that prosecutors in his 2012 trial “exaggerated” his role in the crimes.
The judge is allowing Lewellen to live with a relative in Frankfort, about 20 miles southwest of Chicago.
This is not an isolated case. Other vulnerable prisoners have also been able to obtain early releases from facilities across the U.S.
If you have a loved one in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) who you believe could be eligible for compassionate release during the pandemic, contact the Law Offices of Darryl A. Goldberg at (773) 793-3196 for representation or a consultation.