2 Ohio jail inmates released by mistake, marking 5th time this year

Officials said one inmate is back in the Cuyahoga County Jail, but another remains at-large


By Adam Ferrise
Advance Ohio Media

CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County Jail officials released two inmates by mistake during the weekend, including one who remains at-large.

The release marks the fifth time in 2020 that the county jail released inmates from the jail by mistake, marking the latest in an almost two-year period that saw a record number of deaths, abuse of inmates and staff blunders at the beleaguered downtown facility.

Cuyahoga County spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan released scant details Monday after a weekend in which county officials stonewalled reporters' repeated requests to release information about the inmates and to say whether they posed any threat to the public.

The Budish administration returned no calls or emails Saturday. On Sunday, Madigan would not answer questions, responding via email only to say: "I don't have any information on that. I won't have anything until tomorrow. Sorry."

Madigan said late Monday afternoon that inmate David Barnes, 39, of Cleveland, is back in the county jail. Barnes faces a felony charge of possessing a weapon with a felony record. Madigan did not say when or how he returned to custody.

Police arrested Barnes Thursday. A Cleveland Municipal Court judge gave Barnes a personal bond on Friday but ordered that he remain in the jail because he had an outstanding warrant pending in Solon, according to court records.

Madigan also said Saturday another inmate, Bernard Moore, 21, of Warrensville Heights, was mistakenly released. He remains at-large. Madigan said county officials "expect him back" in the jail soon but did not say why.

Moore faces a felony charge of improperly handling a gun in a motor vehicle. He was arrested on Saturday and released before he made his first court appearance scheduled for Monday. Moore is also wanted by police in Beachwood and Parma and was ordered to be held in the jail on those charges, according to court records.

Madigan said the county is investigating how both men ended up released despite orders that they remain jailed. She did not respond as to why the county did not alert the public about the releases over the weekend.

The administration has a history of slow responses to mistaken releases. Sheriff David Schilling admitted in 2019 to violating an Ohio law that required him to notify the public when an inmate escaped the jail.

The two new errant releases mark the fourth and fifth time that's happened so far in 2020.

Jail officers in June released three inmates by mistake in one day. All three with abusing women. County officials blamed human error.

Three officers were disciplined. Two never before worked in the jail area in charge of processing inmate releases but were stationed there that day to help because the jail was understaffed.

The third officer, whose regular duties included processing inmates for release, had been previously punished for his role in mistakenly releasing an inmate in 2019.

The county has not yet said if they punished a supervisor in charge of overseeing the officers' work that day.

Jail officers mistakenly released four other inmates in separate incidents in 2019, including one accused of murder. In those incidents, county investigations pointed to human error, a computer system error, and miscommunication between the clerk of courts offices and the jail as reasons for the inmates' releases.

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(c)2020 Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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