Every law firm likes to celebrate big victories, whether it’s obtaining a large settlement or preventing someone from receiving a sentence which far outweighs the crime. Today, we get to celebrate the most exciting type of victory: securing a client’s release from jail, where he has been illegally detained for weeks.
This particular gentleman (we’ll call him Mr. Castillo) heard about our firm from another inmate at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (CFCF) in Philadelphia, the jail where he was being held. He heard that our firm wakes up every morning ready to fight for our clients and their families – regardless of who’s on the other side.
Mr. Castillo explained to us that he had recently left Texas to come live with his mother, a full-time nurse, in Philadelphia. He was worried about her health and ability to take care of her household throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
When Mr. Castillo landed in Philadelphia in late December 2019, he was promptly arrested by Philadelphia police and charged with Arrest Prior To Requisition (42 § 9134 ), meaning that the Philadelphia police believed there was a warrant for Mr. Castillo’s arrest in Texas and they would hold him in jail until Texas came to pick him up.
By law under 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 9136, Mr. Castillo could only be lawfully detained on this charge up to 30 days, with an extension of 60 additional days by judicial order, for a total of 90 days total, absent a Governor’s Warrant from the State of Texas or a member of Texas law enforcement coming up to Philadelphia to transport Mr. Castillo back to Texas.
By the time our office was hired, Mr. Castillo had already been held for four months, or approximately 120 days. This means he had been illegally detained for 30 days beyond the legal limit!
The experienced defense attorneys at Kenny, Burns & McGill sprung into action and filed an Emergency Motion for Release, which included, among many others, the following averments:
The Philadelphia Office of the District Attorney filed a one sentence response to the Emergency Motion:
“Having reviewed all applicable relevant information, including but not limited to: victim consultation, case discovery, Gagnon summaries, State Parole summaries, criminal history, FBI extracts, past court attendance, the Commonwealth: Objects to the above referenced motion(s).”
The judge, apparently relying on the District Attorney’s objection, denied our Emergency Motion.
Of course, our attorneys could not back down when our client’s life and liberty were on the line. We quickly filed a Motion to Reconsider, explaining to the judge precisely why their decision was incorrect under the law and reiterating the fact that Mr. Castillo’s rights continue to be violated every single day he is illegally detained.
The Motion to Reconsider read, in part:
Our office even went so far as to contact the county warrants division in the Texas county where the Commonwealth originally alleged a warrant existed for Mr. Castillo. We confirmed that a warrant did exist at one point, but had since been vacated. This meant that not only was our client being illegally detained by virtue of the length of incarceration, but there might not even be a warrant in Texas anymore. All of that information was included in the Motion to Reconsider.
The Motion to Reconsider was sent to the judge on May 18, 2020 and the judge saw their error and released Mr. Castillo the very next day. Needless to say, Mr. Castillo and his family are extraordinarily relieved.
And while it is unfortunate that the government and the courts took a long time to understand how much they were violating our client’s rights, Kenny, Burns & McGill fought to the finish and got our client out of jail and back home to help his mother.
Kenny, Burns & McGill handles all sorts of criminal defense matters and we have been filing (and winning) many Emergency Motions throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Do you or someone you know need an experienced criminal defense attorney? Is a loved one being illegally detained beyond the end of their sentence? Contact us immediately for a free consultation and learn how our representation can benefit you.