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State's Highest Court Upholds Release Of Prisoner Due To Coronavirus Risk

This article is more than 1 year old.

A Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court justice has upheld the release of a prisoner because of the coronavirus.

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins had argued against the man's release, saying he's a threat to public safety, despite having led the charge for decarceration amid the pandemic.

Rollins argued that a Superior Court judge abused her discretion in releasing 40-year-old William Utley from prison. Rollins said Utley's charges, which include gun possession and second degree murder, make him a risk to the community.

But state Supreme Court Justice Elspeth Cypher ruled that Utley's cancer treatment makes him especially vulnerable to COVID-19 in prison. Her ruling points out that the lower court judge imposed conditions on Utley's release, including GPS monitoring.

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Deborah Becker Twitter Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.

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