Big Island jail, courts make changes after mistaken release

HONOLULU (AP) — Officials say procedures have been changed for jails and courts after a man charged with murder was mistakenly released from a Big Island jail last summer.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that Hawaii Department of Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda told state lawmakers Tuesday that Big Island courts now email bail documents to the jail in addition to hand delivering them.

Espinda says the investigation is ongoing into how 49-year-old Brian Lee Smith was mistakenly freed from the Hawaii Community Correctional Center in July. He turned himself in two days later.

Smith had been charged with second-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

Espinda says the jail never received the bail documents that would have instructed staff to hold Smith. He was released when other cases against him were resolved.