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Following bail concerns, District Attorney wants full-time prosecutor at EBR jail

1 month 2 weeks 4 days ago Monday, May 07 2018 May 7, 2018 May 07, 2018 6:11 PM May 07, 2018 in The Investigative Unit
Source: WBRZ

UPDATE: Mark Russell's hearing has been continued until May 17.

It was announced in court Tuesday that Russell was admitted to a local hospital. Authorities confirm they responded to a home on Baker Blvd this morning for an attempted suicide call. Arrest records show the address matches Mark Russell's home. Sources tell WBRZ, Russell slit both of his wrists.

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BATON ROUGE- Following a string of bonds issued by multiple judges and described as low by seasoned prosecutors, District Attorney Hillar Moore said he would like to have a full-time prosecutor at the jail to help provide the court with all the information they would need before a bond is set.

Last week, convicted sex offender Mark Russell was arrested again. This time, he was charged with impersonating a cop, rape, and false imprisonment. The career criminal has a repeated history of sex offenses, but a 19th Judicial District Court Judge set his bond at $13,000. Russell posted bond and was released the following day.

By the end of the week, the District Attorney's Office filed a motion to have his bond revoked or raised. A judge will take up that issue Tuesday morning at 9 am.

Right now, Hillar Moore wants to model Baton Rouge after other cities that place a prosecutor at the jail.

"It's way overdue," Moore said. "It's time now for us to start that. Not only have a DA there but a public defender and a judge or magistrate judge. Ideally, you would have it 24 hours a day."

The problem is the cost. It is not cheap. Moore estimates it will cost anywhere between $300,000 and $500,000 depending on how long the prosecutor is there.

Right now, it's impossible to know what a judge sees at the time a defendant's bond is set. If a prosecutor was housed at the parish prison, Moore said it would make certain judges get to see all of their information before decisions are made regarding bonds.

It's unclear if that would have affected Russell's case, but it could have.

"Certainly we would have provided more robust information about the history we have in our office," Moore said. "I'm assuming the bond would be different but can't verify that. I would guess that would make someone more cautious before issuing that type of bail or bond."

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