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Government’s ‘Clerical Error’ Could Send Connecticut Man to Prison

— March 29, 2019

Demetrius Anderson was released from prison in 2006. Now Marshals say he may have to go back.

A Connecticut man could be facing months behind bars after U.S. Marshals discovered he’d been released from prison without serving his full sentence.

Demetrius Anderson, a Philadelphia native and New Haven resident, was released from prison in 2006. According to CNN and most other sources, he’s reformed and avoided unwanted contact with the law. He has two jobs, a comfortable apartment and is active within his community.

Not surprisingly, Anderson didn’t expect Marshals to come calling. But they did, following an internal audit that showed he never served time for a 16-month sentence.

“They pushed me on my refrigerator, so now I’m cuffed in a robe, and ransacked my place,” Anderson told National Public Radio. “They were saying they needed to go and make sure no one is here.”

Anderson’s arrest warrant was approved by a U.S. Circuit Court judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

And the offense he’s being held for was one committed and tried well over a decade ago.

NPR notes that Anderson was sentenced in federal and state courts for ‘separate but similar counterfeit and identity-theft crimes,’ perpetrated between Connecticut and Pennsylvania. He spent three years in a Connecticut lock-up before being paroled.

Image via Pexels/Pixabay. (CCA-BY-0.0)

Since being released, Anderson claims he thought the sentences were served concurrently. So too did the prison, allowing him early leave and assigning a parole officer, with whom Anderson checked in regularly afterward.

The early release, apparently, was a clerical mistake that nobody caught until earlier this month.

Attorney Michael Dolan said he and Anderson have been exploring all possible options, including an appeal to President Donald Trump for exoneration.

“Essentially recognizing that he served his debt to society, that there was a negligence on the part of—whether it’s the marshals or the Connecticut Department of Corrections,” Dolan said. “Whatever the goals of prison and the justice system are, whether it’s rehabilitation, whether it’s punishment, they’ve certainly been met here.”

Nobody, says NPR, knows for sure from where the error originated. The Connecticut Department of Corrections would only tell National Public Radio that Anderson was released in December of 2006, having served the length of his in-state sentence.

Anderson, for his part, isn’t sure if he’s mentally prepared to return to prison after having spent so much time turning his life around. And life on the outside hasn’t been easy—his parents and sister were murdered in 2016, the killings committed by his own brother, who’d been high on crack cocaine.

On Tuesday, Anderson seemed hopeless, saying Trump was his only hope for reprieve.

“I’m at the mercy of the President right now to help fix this,” he said. “I still have faith in the judicial system that they could rectify it.”

NPR notes the case has been rapidly developing. Anderson is due to appear in court in less than a week, on April 4th.

However, Dolan says it now appears the Bureau of Prisons may credit Anderson for the 16 months under the Doctrine of Credit for Time at Liberty. The Doctrine, writes NPR, ‘basically means if an error’ hadn’t come to the attention of the government, and an individual would’ve otherwise remained free, they can avoid further complication.


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