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Ronnie Simmons, Corrine Brown's co-conspirator, wants to leave prison early

Ronnie Simmons wants to go to halfway house for last 12 months of term

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ronnie Simmons, the man who was sentenced to four years in prison in connection to a bogus charity scheme, that also landed former Rep. Corrine Brown in federal prison, has asked to spend the last 12 months of his prison sentence in a halfway house.

Simmons, who was Brown's former chief of staff, pleaded guilty to charges connected to the One Door for Education charity, that became a slush fund for Brown. He's asking a federal judge to make a recommendation to the Bureau of Prisons.

Typically, federal prisoners spend the last six months of their sentence in a halfway house. Simmons is scheduled to get out of a federal prison in Maryland in July 2020 and is slated to go to a halfway house in January.

Under federal law, the most time someone can spend in a halfway house at the end of a sentence is 12 months.

Simmons, who is representing himself, cites a number of reasons in the motion making his request, including:

  • His mother is in declining health and has to travel with a breathing machine to visit him.  A halfway house placement would allow Simmons to help his mother with doctors appointments and maintain her daily living.
  • He's maintained "good conduct" and has taken full advantage of educational and vocational opportunities.
  • He completed a 500-hour residential drug abuse treatment program, which "was indeed very educational and helpful"

Carla Wiley, who is Simmons' ex-girlfriend, was also a co-defendant in the case. She made a similar request to a judge, asking for nine months in a halfway house. The request was denied, with a judge saying she could still make the same request directly to the Bureau of Prisons. Wiley completed her sentence last month.

Brown is serving a five-year sentence at a federal prison in central Florida, and is scheduled to get out in June 2022. She has appealed her conviction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Her appellate attorney appeared before the court in Atlanta in February, and a ruling on her appeal is still pending.