ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico filed a petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Eighth Judicial District Court, seeking the release of Kandyce Jaramillo from Springer Correctional Center. Ms. Jaramillo, who is detained on drug possession, suffers from severe asthma, making her especially vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. The ACLU contends that continuing to confine Ms. Jaramillo constitutes deliberate indifference to the excessive risk of serious harm of COVID-19 and violates her constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
“Each day our client spends locked up is a day in which her life is in jeopardy,” said ACLU staff attorney and Equal Justice Works Fellow Lalita Moskowitz. “We know from looking at some of the largest outbreaks of coronavirus around the country that correctional facilities are hot spots for the disease. People like Ms. Jaramillo, who suffer from underlying medical conditions, are especially vulnerable to serious illness and death in the event of an outbreak. The only true way to guarantee their safety is to release them from these settings.”
On February 10, 2020, after suffering a severe asthma attack, Ms. Jaramillo was rushed almost forty miles from the Springer Correctional Center to the Miners’ Colfax Medical Center in Raton, New Mexico. On the way to the hospital she stopped breathing on multiple occasions and nearly had to be intubated upon arrival. Since that time, she has experienced several asthma attacks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified asthma and one of the medical conditions that puts people at higher risk for severe illness or death from COVID-19.
“Our client is serving a sentence for drug possession, a conviction that reflects her longtime struggle with substance abuse,” said Moskowitz. “She poses no danger to her community. But her current environment poses a life-threatening danger to her.”
A copy of the petition is available below.