Montana Judge Questions Early Jail Releases - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Montana Judge Questions Early Jail Releases

MISSOULA, Mont. - A western Montana judge is questioning why the Missoula County Detention Center is choosing to release prisoners before sentences are complete. Municipal Judge Marie Anderson in a letter obtained by the Missoulian told jail authorities she was not away of any legal authority allowing the jail to unilaterally release prisoners.

Missoula County Sheriff Mike McMeekin says he thought it was OK to release early a particular inmate sentenced by Anderson because the jail has an unwritten agreement with head Municipal Judge Donald Louden.

District Judge Dusty Deschamps says releasing inmates without authority from the court exposes the county to liability. Some residents are concerned with early releases because Missoula has been trying to clean up the downtown area where officials say drunks scream at shoppers and businesses have to clean up vomit from doorways.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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