At least 11 defendants awaiting criminal trials in Washington, D.C., in the past year were charged with violent crimes after being released from jail through the court system's electronic monitoring program, the Washington Post reports. D.C. Pretrial Services Agency said that of 1,351 defendants who were released with GPS ankle bracelets to track their movements, 110 were arrested and charged with new crimes. Nearly a dozen crimes were violent, including armed robbery, assault and attempted child sex abuse. In past years, defendants in the program have been charged with murder and rape.
“It's one of my biggest fears,” said one D.C. Superior Court judge. “No judge wants to release someone and have that person commit a violent crime while on release.” Even those charged with murder and other more serious crimes can be released if prosecutors don't object. That's what happened in one recent case in which an 18-year-old who was released in November while awaiting trial for a 2010 killing was charged in two shootings and a kidnapping over three days in December. Clifford Keenan, director of the Pretrial Services Agency, said the number of people on GPS monitoring who were arrested for violent crimes has dropped by more than half since 2010, when there were 26 such incidents.