Top officials of New Orleans’s criminal justice system met yesterday to determine how a murder suspect was mistakenly released from Orleans Parish Prison last week. When the group emerged 90 minutes later, the answer wasn’t any clearer than before the closed-door conference, says the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman said the proper paperwork was never received by his office. A man, 21, was arrested for murder in May and indicted in August but mistakenly released Jan. 17. He was recaptured two days later.
The glitch apparently occurred because the “court crier sheet” showing his indictment never was received by the Sheriff’s Office. Prosecutor Eddie Jordan said the mistake should be viewed in light of the more than 90,000 arrests in New Orleans each year, as well as about 20,000 charges that are handled for prosecution. “If we had a mistaken release of one individual that’s not a lot of people in the scheme of things,” Jordan said. “But we understand that the mistaken release of one inmate is too many.” He said safeguards will be put in place to ensure that such a mistake doesn’t happen again.