Clerical Error Could Send Man Back to Prison After 13 Years of Freedom

As originally reported by Debra Cassens Weiss: ABA Journal 03-29-2019

A Connecticut man freed from state prison in 2006 might have to give up his freedom after an audit found that he was not turned over to serve a 16-month federal sentence for crimes he committed in Philadelphia.

Jermaine Demetrius Anderson, 43, has two jobs and attends church, reports the New Haven Independent, and CNN. He stayed out of trouble since his release.

But he was arrested by U.S. marshals last week after an audit of custody detainers found that he was never transferred to federal custody to serve his sentence for identity theft and passing counterfeit currency—crimes committed in Philadelphia. His Connecticut prison time was for similar counterfeit currency charges.

A spokesperson for the Connecticut Department of Correction told there is no record of anyone ever lodging a detainer against Anderson, which cleared the way for his release after serving time in Connecticut. An official with the U.S. Marshals Service told the publication the service thinks a detainer was issued, but Anderson was mistakenly released.

Anderson said he assumed the two sentences had run concurrently, and he reported to his parole officer after release. “I wasn’t evading,” he told the New Haven Independent. “I wasn’t on the run.”

New Haven lawyer Michael Dolan said he has contacted federal prosecutors in Philadelphia to urge them to reconsider the sentence. He also plans to ask President Donald Trump to commute Anderson’s sentence. Anderson’s next court date is April 4 before U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond in Philadelphia.

Anderson hopes his good record after prison will count in his favor. “It’s called corrections,” Anderson told the New Haven Independent. “I corrected myself.”