Judge grants compassionate release for man serving life

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A judge has ordered the release of a 76-year-old man who was sentenced to life for running a large Portland cocaine distribution ring, finding he meets the "extraordinary and compelling" reasons for compassionate release.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports despite objections from prosecutors, U.S. Judge Michael H. Simon found Adolph Spears Sr. suffers from potentially terminal health problems and is no longer a danger to the community.

The judge's ruling is a direct result of changes to federal law from a criminal justice bill called the First Step Act, which passed late last year and allows federal courts to directly reduce sentences if an inmate meets the criteria for compassionate release.

Federal prosecutors argued that Spears filed his motion for release before the federal Bureau of Prisons was given a 30-day period to respond to his request and that the court shouldn't take action until that time has expired. They also questioned Spears' medical records and said he's still a danger to the community.

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Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com