State

Already under scrutiny, Kentucky jail accidentally releases a second inmate

A Kentucky jail accidentally set an inmate free. This judge wants answers.

A Boyd County Circuit Court judge recommended a grand jury investigation Friday after the Boyd County Detention Center failed to notify law enforcement after officials mistakenly released an inmate last week.
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A Boyd County Circuit Court judge recommended a grand jury investigation Friday after the Boyd County Detention Center failed to notify law enforcement after officials mistakenly released an inmate last week.

The Boyd County Detention Center mistakenly released an inmate Friday a week before his scheduled release date, making this at least the second accidental release from the jail this month.

Boyd County Commonwealth Attorney Rhonda Copley said detention center officials released Richard Layne, who was incarcerated for a misdemeanor offense, on Friday, July 13. He should have been released July 20.

The news comes just days after Boyd County Circuit Court Judge John Vincent recommended a grand jury investigation of the jail for the accidental release of James Muth, who was housed at the detention center for a pending assault and persistent felony offender case in Boyd County.

Copley said her office is pursuing that investigation. She hopes to find, among other things, how often the jail accidentally discharges inmates and what officials do to prevent early releases.

“I think this might be a regular occurrence in district court with misdemeanors,” Copley said. “That’s what we are investigating.”

Detention Center officials could not be reached for comment.

The jail came under fire after Muth’s release for failing to notify any local law enforcement after the inmate was set free.

In Layne’s case, though, Boyd County Sheriff Bobby Jack Woods said jail officials told his office within an hour of the mistake. An official with the Catlettsburg Police Department said their office was not notified.

The detention center’s log of inmates shows a Richard Layne as a current inmate. It lists his arrest date as Friday, July 13, the same day he was accidentally released.

Controversy — including a riot, multiple cases of inmate escapes, and the early releases — has plagued the jail in recent months.

After four inmates escaped from the jail in December, the Boyd County Fiscal Court asked the jailer, Joe Burchett, to resign. He declined.

Then, in February, a grand jury indicted Burchett on a charge of malfeasance. The charge carries a maximum fine of $1,000 and could force Burchett to resign if he is convicted.

That case is ongoing.

Will Wright is a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. Reach him at 859-270-9760, @HLWright

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