A retired judge said when it came to decisions about whether or not to grant medical furloughs for inmates, it often was "a gut call."
"In many instances, you got the information that was available to you, and the rest of it was flying by the seat of your pants," said Ronald Adrine, who retired in January after serving as a judge in Cleveland Municipal Court for 36 years. "It was based on your experience, based on what you knew about the case, based upon anything you might know about the individual."
But that may not be much, Adrine said, especially in cases where the defendant is awaiting trial.
That was the case for Robert Beane, the man who prompted an AMBER Alert earlier this week. He was in Lorain County jail awaiting trial for kidnapping, assault and aggravated robbery when investigators said he left jail on medical furlough but didn't return earlier this month. On Wednesday, Beane was arrested after police said he beat the mother of his child and took the 10-month-old boy.
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Court records show Beane was convicted on drug, robbery and aggravated assault charges in the past.
While Adrine wouldn't second guess the judge who granted Beane's furlough, he believes the case, as well as other recent furloughs where defendants walked away from custody, will get judges' attention.
"I think anytime you have a failure of the system to function the way we expect it to be designed to function, that everybody does an agonizing reappraisal of the way they handle these things," Adrine said.