DA’s quick release from jail not uncommon

Jana Duty (KXAN Photo)
Jana Duty (KXAN Photo)

GEORGETOWN (KXAN) — Before the sun rose on Monday morning, Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty quickly walked away from the county jail where she was released at 5:30am. She had completed a 10-day sentence for contempt of court despite spending less than 72 hours in jail.

To a layman, it would seem like fuzzy or even preferential math. However, the justice system arithmetic is not as simple as a count to ten.

“The vast majority of people booked into the Williamson County jail are granted 2-for-1 jail credit,” said attorney Doug Ranney who is unaffiliated with Duty’s contempt-of-court case.

Inmates who show good behavior get two days credit for every one day they serve in jail. Good behavior simply means following the rules and regulations set forth by the jail. Duty turned herself in on Friday afternoon which means she received credit for the full day. In fact, Ranney said any time served before midnight is enough to earn credit for the entire day. Monday was the fourth and final day for Duty after serving the weekend.

But that fifth day that would equal a credit of ten actually came a week prior.

“She was booked into the jail originally (after the contempt finding), so that counts as a day,” said Ranney.

On August 6, after the contempt finding, Duty did the walkthrough process which lasted only a matter of hours. However, it counts a full day.

Her early morning release was also standard according to Ranney.

“It is (the jail’s) ordinary policy to book people out at about 5am on the last day of their sentence.”

Travis County also gives inmates 2-for-1 credit for good behavior. Ranney said “trustees” or inmates who take on certain jobs or chores inside the jail can earn 3-for-1 credit in Williamson and other counties.

Former Williamson County Judge Ken Anderson and current Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg were both released from their jail sentences for good behavior. Anderson was sentenced to 10 days for withholding evidence in the 1986 murder trial for Michael Morton and, like Duty, he served three days on a ten day sentence after receiving credit from an earlier day served. Lehmberg was sentenced to 45 days in jail following her drunk driving arrest and served 21 days after receiving credit for two additional days served.

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