(June 22, 2020) – The Washington Appellate Project represented Victor Bueno in his criminal appeal and condemns the Department of Corrections’ failure to prevent his death from COVID-19. Mr. Bueno suffered from chronic health issues and was just three months shy of release on a non-violent crime.
Governor Jay Inslee, Department of Corrections officials, and our state Supreme Court were forewarned months ago that incarcerated people would get sick and die from COVID-19 if aggressive action was not taken. The official response – releasing a small number of people while at the same time continuing the intake of new prisoners – was wholly inadequate to protect the thousands of people who remain incarcerated and at-risk from COVID-19.
If Governor Inslee and the Department of Corrections do not act immediately to release more at-risk individuals, more will die. Any continued inaction will disproportionately impact people of color, who are overrepresented in our state’s prisons due to historical and institutional inequities.
Victor Bueno’s life mattered. His death was preventable. The Washington Appellate Project stands with our clients in demanding the immediate release of those who are at-risk from COVID-19.