The Nueces County Sheriffs Office has released a felon from Nueces County Jail as a safety measure in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Sheriff JC Hooper has approved early released inmates after their sentences were modified. One inmate was released on her own recognizance, although the inmate has a first degree felony pending of Burglary of Habitation. The inmate was released to the community as COVID-19 positive on October 25.
The inmate, Melinda Martinez, has also had some trouble showing back up for court in the past, which makes her a serious flight risk. According to public court documents, Martinez was sentenced to a non-secured facility, but didn’t end up being transferred after she was released from the Nueces County Jail. The documents display the case as inactive and jail deputies say she was released without transferring to the court ordered facility.
As for how many inmates have been released from the Nueces County Jail to reduce COVID-19 outbreaks is undetermined after an e-mail was sent by a Nueces County commissioner to the Sheriff. The Sheriff told the commissioner that he didn’t have to answer to her.
A major outbreak of the coronavirus at the Nueces County McKinzie Jail Annex occurred in July. At that time, 87 out of 90 inmates in one part of the facility, plus 14 correctional officers were tested positive, putting a strain on the Sheriffs Office manpower. Many deputies who were in seniority had to leave warrants division and patrol to work overtime in the jail.
This comes after Nueces County Deputy Raul Salazar died on August 23 after suffering complications of COVID-19. He was 52. In August, The Nueces County Sheriff’s Office said that Salazar died from COVID-19 complications and other serious medical conditions.