Fresno attorney pushing for elderly inmate's release due to COVID-19 concerns

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As COVID-19 cases rise, one Fresno attorney is pushing to get his client released from custody early, claiming he'll likely die if he contracts the virus.

"Our court papers indicate that there's a 10% chance he would die in 12 weeks if he were to not be released," said attorney Kevin Rooney. "We believe it'll be inevitable he'll catch the virus if he stays in custody."

Rooney says his client is 62-year-old Armando Toro, an inmate facing federal charges for alleged drug trafficking after being arrested in November.

According to court documents, Toro is housed at the Fresno County Jail and shares sleeping quarters with about 8 or 9 other inmates.

Rooney says they've filed a motion to get Toro out, but on Monday, a judge denied it, noting there were no confirmed cases in the jail just yet.

He says Toro has a series of health complications, including diabetes and high blood pressure. He adds that with new prisoners coming in, and employees coming in and out of jail, it's not a matter of if, but when someone will become sick.

"And with how crowded jails are, once it's in, it spreads very quickly.," Rooney said.

Officials with the jail say they have more than 100 inmates nearing the end of their punishment and are looking into places to quarantine people if needed.

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