By Lia Monahon
Less than two weeks after his HLS graduation, Isaac Green ’22 stood at the podium in Courtroom 3 of the Massachusetts Appeals Court to argue on behalf of his Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) client, who the Department of Correction refuses to grant compassionate release despite being terminally ill and no longer able to walk on his own.
Massachusetts was one of the last states to establish this form of release from prison, only doing so in 2018, and many barriers to medical parole make it nearly impossible to obtain. Since 2020, student attorneys at CJI have been representing petitioners in medical parole proceedings and appeals.
Sitting in the front row of the gallery in Courtroom 3 were three generations of the client’s family—father, siblings and son. They listened as Isaac explained to the three-judge panel why the Department of Correction should not be allowed to blind itself to relevant evidence of a person’s medical incapacitation by refusing to watch their own surveillance video showing how little a person is able to do on their own. In 15 short minutes, the judges drummed Isaac with questions. Isaac stood his ground, then took his seat next to his supervisor, CJI Clinical Instructor Christian Williams. The Court’s decision is expected to be made in the next several months.
Congratulations Isaac on a terrific first appellate argument – we hope the first of many.