NEW ORLEANS — Local construction worker Luis Medina, 49, was booked Feb. 3 with attempted aggravated rape and sexual battery. Court records show that a short time later, he was released after posting a $30,000 bail.
But the records show that Medina's release included conditions that he “must be on a GPS ankle monitor.”
According to the orders of magistrate court, Medina was supposed to walk out of the jail with an electronic ankle bracelet. But because that specific court order was not communicated in the bail order paperwork sent to the jail, he was released without one.
“At this point, this is unusual,” said Matt Dennis, owner of the frequently-used electronic monitoring company ASAP. “This is not normal. This is not what I've witnessed over the years in Orleans Parish.”
In the wake of a different case last June, Dennis helped set up a notification system after armed robbery defendant Bryan Andry was arrested in the tragic killing of Portia Pollock. Andry had also been released without an electronic monitor, even though the court ordered one as a condition of his bail release.
Fast forward to February and that notification system helped alert the court that Medina was released without monitoring.
“My experience doing this is one of the most dangerous points in time for a person is right when they get out of jail because there could be a lingering anger there,” Dennis said.
The Orleans Parish Sheriff's office, which handles all jail releases, said they never got an order requiring an ankle bracelet.
“The Sheriff's Office operates based upon orders received from the judges of the Criminal District Court,” spokesman Blake Arcuri wrote in a statement. “No order of electronic monitoring as a condition of bail relative to Luis Medina was sent to the Sheriff's Office...Had the condition of electronic monitoring been imposed, Luis would not have been released until such time that a monitor was placed on him by a bail bondsman.”
Court spokesman Rob Kazik could not say why an order was not sent. But he said the court received assurances from Medina's attorney that he would be enrolled in a monitoring program.
“As of now, the defendant is considered in compliance,” Kazik said.
But Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission said the poor communication in Medina's release hurts public confidence in the system.
“When the public hears about these types of things it has a chilling impact on victim and witness cooperation,” Goyeneche said. “On the court side of the equation in some way, there was a breakdown.”
WWL-TV left messages for Medina’s attorney but he has not yet responded.