United States v. Asmar

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
Citation477 F.Supp.3d 593
Docket NumberCase No. 18-20668
Parties UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, v. Junior ASMAR, D-1, Defendant.
Decision Date07 August 2020

477 F.Supp.3d 593

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,
Junior ASMAR, D-1, Defendant.

Case No. 18-20668

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division.

Signed August 7, 2020

477 F.Supp.3d 594

Paul Kuebler, J. Michael Buckley, U.S. Attorney's Office, Detroit, MI, for Plaintiff.

Neil S. Rockind, Neil Rockind, P.C., Bloomfield Hills, MI, for Defendant Junior Asmar.

David Griem, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, Mark J. Kriger, LaRene & Kriger, Detroit, MI, for Defendant Victor Attisha.

Mark J. Kriger, LaRene & Kriger, Steven F. Fishman, Detroit, MI, for Defendant James Shammas.



477 F.Supp.3d 595

Defendant Junior Asmar moves the Court for compassionate release from prison due to dangers posed by COVID-19. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion is DENIED.

I. Factual Background

Defendant Junior Asmar pled guilty to conspiring to distribute marijuana and launder money arising from his participation in a conspiracy involving an unlicensed medical marijuana dispensary. The scheme began as early as 2016 and involved growing marijuana in the Detroit Metro Area and using a number of businesses to launder the millions of dollars in proceeds.

Defendant was indicted in 2018, and on May 6, 2019 he was sentenced to a term of 60 months imprisonment, followed by a term of supervised release of four years. Defendant began serving his sentence on June 20, 2019 and has a projected statutory release date of September 21, 20221 . He has served approximately 22% of his sentence and approximately 33% of his projected prison term. Defendant is housed at FCI Morgantown in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Defendant is 47 years old and asserts he has medical conditions which place him at a greater risk of contracting and suffering the most severe consequences of COVID-19. Specifically, Defendant describes his health as follows:

(1) is medically obese; (2) was an everyday cigarette smoker (before he entered prison); (3) has struggled with substance abuse in the past (including the regular smoking of marijuana and the over-consumption of alcohol); (4) is a borderline diabetic (with a Hemoglobin A1C count of between 5.8-6.0, which means that he is at a significantly increased risk of full-blown diabetes ); and (5) has fluctuating blood pressure (indicating hypertension ), which has been as high as 154/98 and is almost consistently over 135/80 (over the past year).
ECF No. 71, PageID.983-984]. Defendant asserts that these medical conditions taken in the aggregate, along with his status as a prisoner, put him at high risk of falling ill with COVID-19 and having serious medical complications or death if he is infected.

Defendant's medical records show that upon arriving at FCI Morgantown, he declined the influenza and Tdap vaccines [ECF No. 73-3, PageID.1111-1112]. Defendant did not report any notable health concerns during his initial screening with the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"). He denied having diabetes, cardiovascular problems and hypertension. Defendant did report daily marijuana use and his medical exam recorded his blood pressure as 154/98. Defendant did not report taking any medications [ECF No. 73-5, PageID.1116-1119].

[477 F.Supp.3d 596

Defendant's November 14, 2019 medical record showed that his BMI was 38.4 which the CDC categorizes as "obese." [ECF No. 73-4, PageID 1114]. The BOP reports that Defendant currently has the following conditions: tinea cruris (jock itch); cannabis use disorder, severe; retinopathy, NOS (eye condition); dermatitis, unspecified (skin inflammation ); low back pain; hematuria, unspecified (blood in urine); and prediabetes [ECF No. 73-7, PageID 1124].

On June 10, 2020, Defendant sent a request to the Warden at FCI Morgantown requesting that the BOP file a motion for reduction of sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(I). Defendant's request was denied by the Warden on July 13, 2020.

At present there have been zero confirmed inmate cases of COVID-19 and one confirmed staff case at FCI Morgantown. Testing is reportedly performed at the facility when inmates are symptomatic. In his request for release, Defendant asks the Court to modify his sentence under such restrictions and conditions as it deems appropriate, including non-custodial release, release on tether, or home confinement.

The BOP has been directed by the Attorney General to assess its entire prison population to determine which inmates face the most risk from COVID-19, pose the least danger to public safety, and can safely be granted home confinement. 03-26-2020...

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