Ex-bondsman charged in plot to free defendants
NEW ORLEANS - A former New Orleans bail bondsman has been charged with conspiring with a former employee of the Orleans Parish sheriff's office to illegally release criminal defendants from the sheriff's custody without a judge's authorization.
A federal court filing Tuesday claims 56-year-old Willie J. Irons Jr. paid Gilishia Garrison, who also worked for the Orleans Parish Criminal Clerk's office, to manipulate the sheriff's office's computer system and forge court documents so that four defendants could be released on their own recognizance.
The defendants had been ordered held on bonds ranging from $2,500 to $14,000.
Irons faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison if he's convicted of the conspiracy charge.
Garrison pleaded guilty to related charges in January 2011 and is scheduled to be sentenced May 24.