Archive for Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Error leads to release of suspects

July 12, 2000

A judge last Wednesday ordered that suspects in high-speed chase be released from the Leavenworth County Jail because of an error by the sheriff's department.

Two men and two women were detained on July 3 following a chase between Tonganoxie and Basehor. They are suspects in an attempted break-in at a home northwest of Basehor.

However, two days later, a Leavenworth County district judge ordered that the four be freed because sheriff's officers didn't provide the necessary paperwork in time to file charges against any of the suspects.

To hold a person in jail longer than 48 hours without charges, the law requires that a judge approve a probable cause affidavit either in writing or verbally. Up to that point, a person can be detained for investigative purposes.

After that 48-hour marker was reached last Wednesday, the four suspects left the jail.

"We erred," said Major Dave Zoellner, Leavenworth County undersheriff. "They were released, pending charges being filed later. The reports didn't get to the county attorney in a timely fashion."

Zoellner said the July 4 holiday played a role in delaying the process.

"It's something that we can't let happen," he said. "But it did happen. I can't tell you it won't happen again. If there was an error, it was on our part. The officers are aware that on holidays, on weekends, they have to do their probable cause affidavits."

Roger Marrs, deputy county attorney, said, "We try to get them out of there in 48 hours or less we try to get them before the judge or charged. It was over the 48 hours. I'm not sure how much over."

On Tuesday, charges were filed against two of the suspects, Marrs said.

Sheila Hicks, 37, Kansas City, Kan., who was a passenger in the back seat, faces charges of attempted residential burglary and criminal damage to property. The driver, Daryl Thomas, 31, Kansas City, Kan., was charged with attempted residential burglary, attempt to elude a police officer, possession of stolen property and criminal damage to property.

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