Gaffe by jail prompts new restriction on inmate releases

Gaffe by jail prompts new restriction on inmate releases

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - A recent blunder that resulted in an accused murderer being erroneously released into the community has prompted a new restriction for Hawaii Community Correctional Center inmate releases.

West Hawaii Today reports Deputy Attorney General Laura Maeshiro, representing the state Department of Public Safety, said Thursday that since Brian Lee Smith was mistakenly freed on July 24, the department has delegated the responsibility of releasing inmates from the Hilo jail to just two people - the warden and the chief of security.

Smith remained free for two days before calling to turn himself into police around 11 p.m. July 26.

Smith was supposed to be held on $1.15 million bail after pleading not guilty on July 20 to multiple charges, including second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder and first-degree attempted murder, in connection with the fatal shooting of Thomas Ballesteros Jr.

Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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