Felon freed from jail on furlough but never returned

Felon freed from jail on furlough but never returned »Play Video
Jacob Lucey

YAKIMA, Wash. -- You would like to think the court system works the way it's supposed to. Action News learned a convicted felon with an extensive rap sheet got out of jail for a day and hasn't been back seen since. Now, he's suspected of committing new crimes.

29-year-old Jacob Lucey has nearly a dozen convictions under his belt. Yakima police say more are on the way.

"He's now one of our prime suspects in a robbery," said Capt. Rod Light of Yakima police.

Police said Lucey committed his latest crime here at East I and N. 4th Street with a gun in he stole a person's car. Police haven't seem him since.

The problem is Lucey shouldn't have been able to commit that crime at all. He was supposed to be behind bars awaiting sentencing.

But Action News learned a judge looked past his record and took pity on Lucey. He was granted a furlough. It's basically a get-out-of-jail free card for 24 hours.

Lucey claimed his mother was dying. Lucey was nowhere to be found when the 24-hours was up.

"Of course it's frustrating to us," Light said. "We work really hard to get these these guys in custody and criminally prosecuted. Especially an offender like this who is incredibly dangerous, and it does tax our resources."

Police aren't the only ones frustrated.

"Whoa, hold on. This person is obviously a criminal," Yakima resident Dave McFadden "Caught, put in jail and yet somehow got back out?"

But you can't just blame the judge. Court papers reveal both the prosecutor's office and Lucey's public defender agreed to the furlough.

"You wonder what the thought process was at that juncture," McFadden said.

The Yakima County Court Administrator tells me furloughs are not commonly granted.
The rare exception backfired in this case.

"Frustrating when you see these things happen, you see that more energy is going to have to be expended to keep our streets safe."

Lucey is wanted once again and Yakima is left at risk until he's caught.

Police say Lucey committed the armed robbery early Sunday morning. He first arrest came in 2001 for drugs.

Editor's Note: KIMA wants to clarify our reporting of the Jacob Lucey furlough. Our story included three seconds of video depicting Yakima County District Court Judge Brian Sanderson. It could have been interpreted that Judge Sanderson was the one who granted the furlough. He was not. Action News verified the furlough was authorized by Yakima County Superior Court Judge Blaine Gibson.