OKLAHOMA CITY — A court-ordered inspection of every inmate in the Oklahoma County jail found that a 20-year-old woman had been wrongly incarcerated for two weeks on a warrant that had been dismissed months before, a lawyer said.
Giselle Perez was jailed Feb. 26 after a traffic stop because of an outstanding arrest warrant on a 2015 juvenile theft charge that had actually been dropped in December. Perez said she never even went to court and that she lost her job while she was being held. Perez was released March 12 after the mistake was discovered.
“I was really mad. I was mad because I was in there for nothing. I didn’t deserve to be in there. That’s what I thought the whole time,” Perez said Tuesday.
Bob Ravitz, the county public defender, told the presiding judge in a March 15 report that “this is the most egregious case,” The Oklahoman reported.
A judge on March 8 ordered a check of the more than 1,600 county inmates after learning one detainee had been lost in the criminal justice system for nearly eight months.
Among other inmates lost in the system, one had been there for three months without even seeing a judge.
New arrivals are usually arraigned by a special judge within three days.
Ravitz faults both a judicial system that depends too much on paperwork to operate and the “totally archaic” computers at the sheriff’s office.
“Once the courts go to e-filing and the District Attorney and I get a new case management system, some of these problems will be alleviated,” he wrote in the report. “It is my position, though, until the Sheriff gets a new computer system, that all we can do is minimize potential issues.”
Sheriff P.D. Taylor acknowledged that getting a new computer system would alleviate a lot of the issues.
“If the funding can be found, we will. We desperately need it. Everyone’s in agreement that we need to do this,” the sheriff said Tuesday. “We need a good system that’s integrated to where all parties involved can talk and count on the reports and numbers being correct.”
Ravitz and Taylor have agreed to conduct inspections every two months, according to the report.
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com
The Associated Press