Photo | MCSO
Mandy Nicole Brady (right) was released from Mobile Metro Jail in spite of a revocation of her bond for a drug charge.
The trial of a woman accused of trafficking methamphetamine was postponed Monday after she failed show up to court — surprising a judge who had revoked her bond and remanded her to police custody 11 days earlier.
Court records indicate the trial for Mandy Nicole Brady, 38, was scheduled to begin on Aug. 27 before Mobile County Circuit Judge James Patterson. Brady’s charges stemmed from a December 2017 incident, for which she was indicted in March 2018. After being granted a $10,000 bond, Brady was released to await trial.
However, one of the conditions of Brady’s release was that she not be charged with any new criminal offenses.
So, when she was arrested and charged with theft of property for allegedly shoplifting at the Saraland Wal-Mart Aug. 13, local prosecutors quickly sought to have her bond revoked by arguing she was “a danger to herself and others.” Patterson seemed to agree and issued an order revoking Brady’s bond Aug. 16.
Even though Brady had an pending matter before the court, her subsequent charge for shoplifting was entered into the system as a new charge, and like most cases it wound up on another judge’s docket. While Patterson used it to revoke Brady’s bond in the meth case, her shoplifting charge was before District Judge Bob Sherling.
After her bond was revoked, Patterson says Brady should have been held at the Mobile County Metro Jail until her trial date on Monday, Aug. 27.
The shoplifting charges were ultimately dismissed by Sherling, though Lagniappe has yet to verify why through the Saraland Police Department.
Either way, Brady was “inadvertently” released from jail Aug. 21 due to the dismissal of those charges.
When he found out, Patterson quickly issued a warrant for her arrest the following day but authorities never located her ahead of her Aug. 27 trial for methamphetamine trafficking. She hasn’t been seen since, and Patterson is now demanding answers from jail officials, Sheriff Sam Cochran and Circuit Clerk JoJo Schwarzauer.
On the day Brady failed to show up for trial, Patterson shot off a fiery order suggesting she was allowed to mistakenly walk out of jail due to the ongoing funding shortfalls local courts have been working though. He noted Mobile County courts are already “way undermanned” and will lose more funding as of Sept. 30.
“Despite the fact that I revoked her bond and despite that she was already in custody, somehow she is not here today for her jury trial,” Patterson wrote. “When this court ensures that bond is revoked, and when a defendant is already in custody when her bond is revoked, I am wondering why and how she is not here today — and again, we are wasting valuable resources when jurors are here ready to go and the accused is not.”
According to Patterson, “It costs the state of Alabama judicial system approximately $4,000 per day for a 300-person jury [pool] to appear at the courthouse for just one day.” While the cost of assembling a 12-member jury for a day would be a little less than $200, Patterson said the cash-strapped system can’t afford to waste anything.
The lack of funding for local courts has become a focus of Patterson’s in recent months. As Lagniappe has reported, he began issuing orders in some of his cases and bluntly outlining the challenges the court is facing — often describing local judges has having to “beg for money to keep the circuit afloat.”
He’s has also drafted, prepared and fully intends to file a lawsuit in hopes of the forcing the state of Alabama to adequately fund its judicial system if a some kind of legislative remedy isn’t found in 2019.
In the recent case, Patterson asks Cochran, Schwarzauer and Mobile Metro Jail Warden Trey Oliver to show cause within 10 days as to why Brady was released from custody despite his order to the contrary.
In an email sent to Patterson Tuesday morning, Oliver said as soon as the situation was brought to his attention he had “three Jail employees stop what they were doing and focus on what allegedly happened and why.”
Eventually, they were able to determine that, despite uploading the bond revocation order to the online state court system, Alacourt, clerks working in Patterson’s courtroom never actually sent the order to Metro Jail.
“We make mistakes, and when we catch them, the responsible employees are always held accountable,” Oliver wrote to Patterson in a light-hearted email response to his order. “Of late, though, it appears far more mistakes are being made under the once leaky roof at Government Plaza and not Metro Jail… but who’s counting right?”
As of Aug. 28, jail records indicate police have been unable to locate Brady. There are currently has two active warrants for her arrest — one issued by Patterson after she was “inadvertently” released jail and a second stemming from a failure to appear charge signed on Monday after she didn’t show up to stand trial.