The man convicted of attempted murder who was mistakenly released from Miami-Dade County Jail was back in court Thursday to face a charge of escape.
While it is no doubt a mistake to release a man who has been convicted and is pending sentencing, I do not believe that an escape charge is warranted.
Florida law states that, "a person who is held in lawful custody pursuant to a judicial finding of probable cause and who escapes or attempts to escape while in such custody commits a felony of the second degree."
It will be very difficult for the State to prove that the accused escaped. Especially when he was released by corrections officers.
I believe that the charge is overkill and is being imposed to negate the incompetence of the corrections officers who released this man when he was not supposed to have been released. There is no way that a prosecutor is going to be able to prove to a jury that this man committed a crime when he was told he could leave the jail. The onus falls on the system that failed, not the man who unwittingly benefitted from it.
Nevertheless, his release was short-lived. He was picked up within 14 hours and remains in custody on the new charge, as well as pending sentencing on the other.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward. Call to discuss your case.