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New Haven Man Battles Error That May Send Him Back To Prison

Lori Mack
CT Public Radio
Demetrius Anderson, New Haven Attorney Michael Dolan

Demetrius Anderson was getting ready for work last week when several U.S. marshals showed up at his apartment door.

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

Authorities said a U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania signed a warrant because he failed to serve a 16-month federal sentence -13 years ago.

Anderson, who now works for New Haven’s parks department, was confused. He thought he had paid his debt to society when he was released from a Connecticut state prison in 2006.

Anderson was sentenced in federal and state courts in separate but similar counterfeit and identity-theft crimes in both Connecticut and Pennsylvania. He served three years in Connecticut before being paroled -- and assumed he had served his federal time concurrently. In other words, he thought the 16-month federal sentence was part of the three years he served in state prison.

The error was apparently discovered during an internal audit by marshals in Pennsylvania. His attorney Michael Dolan said they’ve been exploring several options, including asking President Donald Trump to commute his sentence.

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

No one really seems to know where the error originated. As for the Connecticut Department of Correction, a spokesman would only confirm that Anderson was released in December of 2006 having served his Connecticut sentence.

But since the marshals arrived at his door, there have been some new developments. 43-year-old Anderson was due in federal court in Pennsylvania April 4th. But Dolan, his New Haven attorney, said the Bureau of Prisons may now credit Anderson for the 16-months under the Doctrine of Credit for Time at Liberty, which basically means if an error such as this doesn’t come to the attention of the government, no legal issue is raised, and the person may remain at liberty.

Lori Connecticut Public's Morning Edition host.
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