Convicted of vote-by-mail fraud in connection to the 2013 municipal elections back in June, Hoboken politico Frank Raia has been released from prison and will serve about three weeks of house arrest following a judge’s ruling.
While Raia was unsuccessful in seeking a compassionate release back in March, U.S. District Judge William Martini ruled yesterday that he could return home and serve the remainder of his sentence there due to COVID-19 concerns.
“Due to the increased risk posed by a custodial term and the original reasons for a reduced sentence . . . a non-custodial sentence would be more appropriate,” Martini wrote.
“The crime here was non-violent and Defendant has otherwise been a highly productive, charitable member of his community,” the judge also said, noting that Raia is not a flight risk.
A May 6th brief from U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito argued that the FCI Fairton correctional facility, part of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, has only had two staff members test positive for the coronavirus and that no prisoners have tested positive.
Carpenito further states that Raia has been in a quarantine unit since April 28th and was scheduled to be released to home confinement on May 20th.
“In light of the foregoing, the Government respectfully submits that, in light of all of these circumstances, including Raia’s impending release to home confinement, he has not met his burden to show that there are ‘extraordinary and compelling’ reasons warranting a reduction in his sentence.”
Nevertheless, Martini ruled in favor of Raia’s release, indicating that Raia is only allowed to leave home to obtain medical necessities, leaving him in the same predicament most New Jerseyans are in due to emergency orders issued by the state – though parks have begun reopening over the past two weeks.
Raia’s house arrest concludes on June 1st, according to court documents.
The Grafix Avenger blog posted Martini’s ruling this morning.