Washington, D.C. — Wilkinson Stekloff associates Aleshadye Getachew, Samiyyah Ali, and Alysha Bohanon, with assistance from partner Rakesh Kilaru, associate Betsy Henthorne, and paralegal Jack Satti, helped secure the early release of their pro bono client Ricky Bailey. In 1995, Mr. Bailey was sentenced to life in prison for a crime he committed when he was just 16 years old. Following Wilkinson Stekloff’s successful efforts, Bailey, now 43, was released from prison after serving more than 25 years.
Under the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act (known as “IRAA”), a Washington, D.C., law passed in 2016, Mr. Bailey was eligible to ask the court to reduce his sentence because he was under 18 at the time of the crime and had served more than 15 years in prison.
Wilkinson Stekloff successfully argued that Mr. Bailey should be resentenced based on, among other factors, significant mitigating evidence in his personal history, his exemplary disciplinary record, and his commitment to self-improvement while in prison, where he completed extensive programming and was highly regarded by prison officials.
“The Wilkinson Stekloff team has the immense privilege to support Mr. Bailey as he returns to society and begins a well-deserved second chance at life,” said Wilkinson Stekloff associate Aleshadye Getachew. “Wilkinson Stekloff is honored to have successfully demonstrated to the court that Mr. Bailey completely reshaped his life over the past 25 years and is not a danger to the community. Not only has he been recognized for good behavior, but he developed a passion for mentoring younger inmates to help lead them down a better path, which he plans to continue after his release.”
Wilkinson Stekloff took on the case in December 2019 and anticipated filing Mr. Bailey’s IRAA motion this summer, with a hearing in the fall at the earliest. But as a result of the increased risks faced by those incarcerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the firm’s belief that Mr. Bailey was an excellent candidate for resentencing, the Wilkinson Stekloff team worked quickly to file his motion well ahead of schedule on an emergency basis. As a result of Wilkinson Stekloff’s powerful advocacy and compelling motion, the judge ordered the government to respond on an expedited basis and quickly set a virtual hearing for May 7, 2020—just 24 days after the motion was filed. Less than 20 minutes after the hearing began, the judge granted the motion to reduce Mr. Bailey’s sentence, noting that he had “earned [his] right to a second chance.”
“Mr. Bailey’s release from prison is yet another example of our firm’s commitment to zealous advocacy on behalf of all of our clients, including under IRAA,” said Wilkinson Stekloff Partner Rakesh Kilaru. “We are proud to have played a part in allowing Mr. Bailey to have a second chance at life, and that our associates spearheaded this case.”
Founded in February 2016, Wilkinson Stekloff has grown to nearly 40 lawyers and has quickly established itself as the leading trial boutique firm in the country. The firm has tried over a dozen cases to verdict across the country, winning the vast majority, and has won several other pre-trial victories in bet-the-company cases.