Sheriff: Better record keeping measures in place

Published on Monday, 21 July 2014 22:05 - Written by Staff Reports

In addition to reviewing incidents in which Smith County inmates were released on personal recognizance bonds, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office has announced it will increase record keeping measures for emails sent between the office and the Smith County District Attorney’s Office.

In a news release received shortly after 5 p.m. Monday, the office announced that its Criminal Investigation Division will provide Chief Deputy Robert Carlson and Sheriff Larry Smith with a carbon copy of any emails with the district attorney’s office.

Smith also asked the DA’s office to include Carlson and himself in any emails about outstanding cases.

“There is no substitution for open and concise communications,” Smith said. “It is of the utmost importance, especially in dealing with law enforcement business involving victims as well as suspects. The life and liberty of both depend upon the local investigative and prosecutorial entities doing their job, doing it expeditiously, thoroughly, constitutionally and above all fairly.”

The sheriff’s office is tracking all arrests, and requiring all misdemeanor cases be filed with the district attorney’s office within 30 days and all felony cases be filed within 45 days of incarceration.

The sheriff’s statement comes one day after the Tyler Morning Telegraph published a story showing that at least eight people arrested on felony charges — including drug crimes and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — have been released from jail the past two years on personal recognizance bonds after the Smith County Sheriff’s Office failed to present cases for a grand jury in the allotted 90-day period as set forth by state law, according to records obtained by the newspaper.

Smith and his office are in the process of reviewing the incidents in which the inmates were released. Each case along with the related communications between the sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices will be reviewed.