More drama in the Washington Judicial System

Just came out yesterday that the Washington State Department of Corrections has really got its tit in the wringer now, and may be liable for countless millions of dollars. Seems that the computer program that they use to determine if a prisoner is eligible for early release had an interesting bug, from about 2003 on. This bug resulted in extra early release of many undeserving felons

During that time well over 3,000 inmates have been released earlier than they should have been, some of them many months earlier. The thing that is going to cause the State a LOT of problems is that this software bug was discovered years ago (IIRC around 2005) and the the DOC was promptly notified. But for some reason they never took any action to fix the bug, but kept on using the defective software until just this week when the problem was discovered again.

Local lawyers are salivating at the probability that many residents of the state are undoubtedly going to prove to have been victims of some of these released inmates, and will have a slam-dunk of a case when they sue.

There has already (just came out this morning) news that the first case has turned up of a murder committed by a felon released in this fashion. Stay tuned.

I gotta admit, it’s really fun living in the State of Washington. A person never knows what the Gov’t. is going to do next. The fingerpointing and apologizing going on right now is impressive.

Sovereign immunity?

Proving that the state did something stupid is an entirely different kettle of fish than proving that the state is therefore legally liable to pay money.

Because I’m too lazy to check on my own, do law enforcement analyses exist that suggest how the crime rate in Washington state might have risen (or fallen insufficiently) as a result of the errroneous early releases?

A link to a story that at least partially explains the nature of the bug might prove useful.

I don’t understand the liability: state parole boards routinely release convicts before their sentence is completed. I haven’t heard of any liability because of this.

Even against a non-sovereign defendant, an intervening criminal act generally defeats a chain of causation. This may be a political problem, but I do not see legal liability.

Parole is a legally-defined system. This is a different situation, because the claim would be that these particular prisoners were released in contravention of law.

Links to the story were requested by one Doper - here is one link:

And another:

I see I was a little off regarding when the error was discovered. It was actually in 2012, not 2005 as I remembered.

The bit I got about the lawyers salivating about potential lawsuits was from a news article in yesterday’s Seattle Times.

Now you guys know as much as I do.