Defendant filed a Motion for Release Due to Illness or Infirmity under Rule 3:21-10(b)(2) and a Motion for a Judicial Furlough under State v. Boone, 262 N.J. Super. 220 (Law Div. 1992). Defendant had asserted that, as an insulin dependent diabetic requiring two injections daily, his continued incarceration had placed him at a very high risk of contracting COVID-19 and suffering extremely serious health consequences, including death. After rejecting the State’s contention that defendant was required to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing such motions, the court addressed both motions on the merits.
With respect to the Motion for Release Due to Illness or Infirmity under Rule 3:21-10(b)(2), the court weighed the factors set forth by the New Jersey Supreme Court in State v. Priester, 99 N.J. 123, 135 (1985), for determining whether an inmate should be released. In so doing, the court held that while defendant had proven that he was suffering from an illness, defendant had not presented any evidence that the pandemic was having a "deleterious effect" on his medical condition and did not show that medical services unavailable at the prison would be essential to prevent further deterioration of his health. Similarly, while the pandemic constituted a change in circumstances, the Department of Corrections had taken efforts to mitigate and protect against the spread of the disease and defendant failed to present any evidence that COVID-19 was causing a "serious deterioration" to his health. Lastly, due to defendant’s extensive prior record and the serious nature of the charge for which defendant was incarcerated, defendant’s release would not be in the best interests of public safety and welfare. Thus, the motion under Rule 3:21-10(b)(2) was denied.
With regard to the Motion for a Judicial Furlough under Boone, the court noted that the defendant in Boone required lifesaving treatment out-of-state and there was no statutory or rule-based authority for granting such relief. As such, the trial court in Boone exercised its inherent authority to grant a judicial furlough to save the defendant’s life. Here, the court found that there was explicit statutory authority, vested in the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and his agents, through which defendant could seek a furlough. See N.J.S.A. 30:4-91.3. Since defendant had statutory authority by which to seek a furlough, the court found it had no authority to grant a judicial furlough and denied the motion.