Second Hispanic Inmate Caught in Snafu
Posted Jun 8, 2007 2:14 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
For the second time in a year, a Hispanic inmate has remained in a Virginia jail past his release date because of a bureaucratic snafu.
Luis Duarte stayed in a Prince William County jail five days past his release date. Jail officials did not get the court paperwork showing that charges stemming from a DUI arrest had been resolved and he was free to go, the Washington Post reports.
Duarte’s lawyer made the calls to get him released after receiving a call from one of Duarte’s friends asking how much more money was needed to free him.
In the earlier case, Fernando Antonio Cruz stayed in jail two months too long, the Post reports.
Jail officials say part of the problem could be due to Hispanic names, which are often longer and include two last names.
Duarte’s lawyer, Victor M. Glasberg of Alexandria, calls the problem "a serious equal-protection issue for the entire population that does not speak English."
Duarte is seeking compensation and improved procedures.
"I just don't want this to happen to other people," he told the Post. "If I was there for days, then other people could be there for years."