MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A former child protective investigator, arrested on charges of official misconduct, was released from jail on Thursday evening.
Earlier, Shani Smith, 36, appeared before a judge who approved her release.
While explaining her decision, the judge said the purpose of a bond is to ensure her appearance in court and she did not consider her a flight risk.
She was released on pre-trial and given an alternate bond of $30,000.
“We’re elated she made this decision,” Smith’s attorney David Kubiliun said. “The reality is Miss Smith is not a flight risk, nor is she a danger to this community.”
Smith removed her hoodie before facing the awaiting media at the Turner Guildford Knight Correctional Center, but she did not say a word as she was whisked away to her attorney’s waiting SUV.
The release comes a day after her arrest. Smith who used to work at the Department of Children and Families (DCF), turned herself in on Wednesday.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials said she falsified records in the case of a mother, Catalina Bruno, whose 11-month-old son, Bryan Osceola, was found dead in his family’s car after he had been sitting in the hot Florida sun in May 2013.
Bruno was arrested, charged, and ultimately took a plea deal in the case.
Smith resigned the same month amid the falsification accusations. She was facing termination from her position, but decided to resign before the state agency could fire her.
Smith’s attorney David Kubiliun said his client “is being used as a scapegoat here, because as the public knows, DCF has had a myriad of problems over the past couple years and they’re using her as the fall girl.”
“It’s been two years, and we’re prepared to fight this case to the end,” Kubiliun said.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case.
Bruno’s attorney, Lonnie Richardson, said Smith’s actions were criminal and she should be charged. He added the family is considering filing a lawsuit against DCF.