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Judge allows man accused of holding woman captive for 3 days to go home with no bond conditions

2 years 7 months 1 week ago Tuesday, December 14 2021 Dec 14, 2021 December 14, 2021 5:32 PM December 14, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- A man who was arrested days ago for domestic abuse battery and false imprisonment after detectives said he held a woman captive for three days, was allowed to bond out of jail with no conditions and return back to the home where the incident occurred.

The WBRZ Investigative Unit found Judge Tarvald Smith set a $4,000 bond for Michael Graff over the weekend but did not require him to stay away from the victim or place him on a monitoring device.

Arrest records allege Graff said he would kill the victim and threatened "suicide by cop" if police showed up. 

Graff was re-arrested Tuesday, accused of domestic violence and cyberstalking. Details on Tuesday's arrest were not immediately clear. Late Tuesday afternoon, we learned Judge Smith did sign a protective order for the victim, prohibiting Graff from going around her following the second arrest in a week.

The District Attorney's Office has also requested to have a Gwen's Law hearing to protect the victim.

"For victims to be safe, judges need to consider supervision or a protective order," Domestic Violence Prosecutor Melanie Fields said. "Sometimes that's enough for them to say I'm going to follow the law and that protective order."

In this particular case, the WBRZ Investigative Unit found that was not done initially. Michael Graff was allowed to return home after posting his bail.

"What is concerning for the DA's office is the lack of notification before that bond was set," Fields said. "The law requires that a judge provide us with some notification to give us an opportunity to maybe say there's more the judge needs to consider. If not for the bond amount but for conditions of bond."

Louisiana law states that if the court decides not to hold a hearing, it shall notify the prosecuting attorney prior to setting bail.

An employee in Judge Smith's office said they could not comment on the specifics of this case, but said they had been in contact with everyone involved.

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