The Criminal Justice Clinic at UCI Law Secures Compassionate Release for Client


IRVINE, Calif. (June 19, 2020) — The Criminal Justice Clinic at the University of California, Irvine School of Law (UCI Law) has secured the compassionate release of one of its clients, Richard Lynn. This week, a federal district court of the Southern District of Alabama granted Lynn's release on June 29, 2020. Lynn was serving seven concurrent life sentences for drug trafficking. Lynn is 65 years old and in failing health -- he had served over 30 years in federal prison. 

“Enabling a person who has served a lengthy prison sentence and who has demonstrated substantial rehabilitation to spend the remaining years of his life with his loved ones is immensely rewarding,” said Katie Tinto, Director of the Criminal Justice Clinic at UCI Law. “Compassionate release is a powerful tool to help elderly prisoners and to rectify overly harsh sentences that would not be imposed today.”

Students in the Criminal Justice Clinic (CJC) -- Julienne Pasichow, Harrison Weimer, and Simi Nandwani -- originally authored a petition for compassionate release on behalf of Lynn before the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). That was denied by the BOP. With persistence, however, advanced CJC students, Julienne and Harrison, wrote the federal court motion for compassionate release, which was then granted by the Judge earlier this week, over the government’s objection. Dr. Arnold Seto of UCI School of Medicine contributed to CJC’s efforts by providing the court with testimony regarding Lynn’s heart conditions.

Lynn will be released on Monday, June 29 to live with his family, including his grandchildren, in Florida. He is the second individual serving a life sentence for whom CJC has successfully secured compassionate release.

More about Clinics at UCI Law

The clinical program at UCI Law is a critical part of the curriculum, enabling students to gain valuable experience representing a variety of clients in need and working to address pressing problems in the community. Clinics are a requirement for UCI Law students. Students in CJC represent low-income individuals in state criminal court, help non-citizens seek post-conviction relief when facing immigration consequences of past criminal offenses, and much more.

About the University of California, Irvine School of Law

The University of California, Irvine School of Law is a visionary law school and provides an innovative and comprehensive curriculum, prioritizes public service, and demonstrates a commitment to diversity within the legal profession. UCI Law students have completed more than 100,000 hours of pro bono work in the past decade. Forty-five percent of UCI Law’s graduates are students of color. The collaborative and interdisciplinary community at UCI Law includes extraordinary students, world-renowned faculty, engaged alumni, and enthusiastic supporters. More information on UCI Law is available here. Please follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ucilaw and SnapChat: ucilaw.

Media Contact:

Mojgan Sherkat