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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is the Sarasota County(Florida) Sheriff's Office. They get the award for the following.

SARASOTA -- Pedro Torres-Rivera scraped at his jail cell's mortar walls using a piece of metal attached to a plastic spoon, trying to dig, inch by inch, an escape hole.

Guards used pepper spray and a Taser to subdue Torres-Rivera during the Sept. 16 escape attempt, then filed additional charges against him that eliminated any chance he had to get out on bail.

But Torres-Rivera, 40, should have been released 11 days before that incident, one of three people who served extra time in the Sarasota County jail this month because of botched paperwork.

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, which runs the jail, had no idea Torres-Rivera had been held past his release date until the Herald-Tribune asked about his case Wednesday. Neither did his public defender.

It wasn't the only mistake. Another inmate, Benjamin Newberry, 49, was held an extra two days last week on a similar paperwork snafu. He had the same public defender as Torres-Rivera.

After hearing about the mistakes Wednesday, Sheriff Bill Balkwill ordered his jail staff to review files for all of the jail's 1,100 or so inmates to make sure no one else was being wrongly held.

They found one: a woman serving a six-month sentence who should have been released Tuesday. The jail released her Thursday.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Chuck Lesaltato said the jail is trying to find out why the mistakes were made.

"We do have a lot of new people down there," Lesaltato said. "We're looking into this whole matter to see if there's a better way to handle these things."
There's no excusing this screwup. If you did your time, you get released when you're supposed to. Mistakes like these make the jail little better than a kidnapper. For that, The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is today's knucklhead of the day.

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