UPDATE: Dozens of Louisville inmates re-indicted after Bullitt Co. man improperly served on Jefferson Co. grand jury
Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine said the office is in the process of again presenting the cases to the grand jury, and will dismiss the previous indictments.
LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – The Louisville Public Defender’s office Monday asked a judge to order Metro Corrections director Mark Bolton to release more than 20 inmates who were improperly indicted this month when a Bullitt County man served on a Jefferson County grand jury.
Louisville prosecutors, however, had already re-indicted all 44 people who were charged with felonies after the man mistakenly served on a Jefferson County grand jury which handed up indictments on Jan. 3, 4 and 8.
Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Ann Bailey Smith dismissed the motion to release the inmates.
The man, whose parents live in Jefferson County, filled out a grand jury summons saying he lived in Louisville, but after hearing cases on those three days, revealed on Jan. 17 that he lived in Bullitt and was removed.
In a motion filed Friday, Jay Lambert, director of special litigation for the public defender's office, filed a motion arguing each of the indicted people in Metro Corrections is being held "unlawfully."
The defendants are being locked up "in the absence of any valid charge," Lambert wrote in the motion.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine said Friday the office was in the process of again presenting the cases to the grand jury, and would dismiss the previous indictments.
Prosecutors have been alerting defense attorneys whose clients were improperly indicted.
Wine said the man provided a Louisville address and filled out forms saying he lived in Jefferson County, but last week he told an employee with the Commonwealth's Attorney's office he couldn’t make it the courthouse one day because roads in Bullitt were snow covered.
That employee then confirmed that the man lived in Bullitt – and had been there for about a year - but received a grand jury summons at his parent’s home in Louisville.
“We’ve never had this happen before,” Wine said. “It’s a unique situation.”
Wine said his office notified the grand jury judge and the man was removed from the panel.
“We immediately told everybody what the problem was,” he said, adding that the man does not face any charges.
“It was a mistake,” Wine said. “That (the Louisville home) was the mailing address he used.”
A grand jury is made up of 12 citizens who hear evidence and decide whether or not to formally bring felony charges against someone. Nine of the 12 grand jurors must agree to return an indictment, which is then sent to Circuit Court.
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