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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. MICHELLE C. CANTATORE
Case Number: 20-2169
Judge: PER CURIAM
Court: UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT
Philadelphia, PA - Criminal defense lawyer represented defendant with one count of bank robbery and one count of wire fraud charge.
On April 12, 2016, Cantatore pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for
the District of New Jersey to one count of bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§ 2113(a) and one count of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343. The District
Court sentenced her to 162 months of imprisonment, a three-year term of supervised
release, and an order to pay restitution in the amount of $406,713.13. We affirmed.
United States v. Cantatore, 706 F. App’x 86 (3d Cir. 2017) (not precedential). Cantatore
is currently confined at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut. She
is scheduled to be released on September 4, 2026.
On March 28, 2020, Cantatore filed a motion for compassionate release based on
“extraordinary and compelling reasons” under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i).
argued that, due to numerous underlying health conditions—including chronic
obstructive pulmonary disorder (“COPD”) and hypothyroidism—she was at risk of
serious complications or death should she contract COVID-19. She asked the District
Court to reduce her sentence to “time served.”
The District Court determined that there were no “extraordinary and compelling
reasons” to reduce Cantatore’s sentence because: (1) she failed to put forth any evidence
It is undisputed that Cantatore complied with § 3582(c)(1)(A)’s 30-day lapse provision
by filing a request for compassionate release with her warden before turning to the
District Court. See 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) (providing that a prisoner can file a
motion with the court upon the “lapse of 30 days from the receipt of [a request for 3
that she has been diagnosed with COPD; and (2) hypothyroidism is not one of the
conditions identified by the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) as one that increases a
person’s risk for developing serious illness from COVID-19. The District Court further
determined that, even if extraordinary and compelling reasons did exist, it would
nonetheless deny Cantatore’s motion based on a weighing of the factors set forth in 18
U.S.C. § 3553(a). Accordingly, the District Court denied relief.
We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We review the District Court’s
ruling on a motion for compassionate release under § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i) for abuse of
discretion. See United States v. Pawlowski, 967 F.3d 327, 330 (3d Cir. 2020).
The compassionate-release provision states that a district court “may reduce [a
federal inmate’s] term of imprisonment” and “impose a term of probation or supervised
release” if it finds that “extraordinary and compelling reasons warrant such a reduction.”
18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)(i). Before granting compassionate release, a district court
must consider the factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) “to the extent that they are
applicable.” Id. § 3582(c)(1)(A). Those factors include, among other things, “the history
and characteristics of the defendant,” 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(1), and “the need for the
sentence imposed . . . to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the
compassionate release] by the warden of the defendant’s facility.”).4
law, . . . to provide just punishment for the offense[, and] . . . to afford adequate
deterrence to criminal conduct,” id. § 3553(a)(2)(A)–(B).
We discern no abuse of discretion and will affirm based on one of the independent
grounds upon which the District Court relied. In particular, we cannot say that the
District Court committed a clear error of judgment in concluding that a number of the
§ 3553(a) factors—including the need to reflect the seriousness of the offense and
promote respect for the law—precluded granting compassionate release here.
because, at the time the motion was filed, Cantatore had only served approximately 40%
of her sentence, it would be inconsistent with the § 3553(a) factors to reduce her sentence
to “time served.” See, e.g., Pawlowski, 967 F.3d at 330 (denying motion for
compassionate release because, among other reasons, the defendant had served only a
small portion of his sentence).
Outcome: We have considered Cantatore’s arguments on appeal and conclude that they are
meritless. Accordingly, we will affirm the District Court’s judgment