He was the wrong guy. Now he’s suing the state.
Information about He was the wrong guy. Now he’s suing the state.
Joshua Spriestersbach was imprisoned and institutionalized for over two years in Hawaii.
Police mistook him for another man and didn’t believe him when he said he wasn’t who they wanted.
Spriestersbach is now suing the state of Hawaii, The New York Times reported.
A homeless man who was arrested and institutionalized for more than two years in Hawaii before authorities realized they had the wrong man is suing the state, The New York Times reported.
Joshua Spriestersbach was imprisoned for four months and spent another 28 months in a state mental hospital after police mistook him for a man named Thomas Castleberry in 2017, Insider previously reported.
He was released in January 2020 when authorities finally realized he wasn’t Castleberry.
Spriesterbach was institutionalized under Castleberry’s name but had never met Castleberry, who was wanted on drug-related charges.
“No one would believe him or take any meaningful steps to verify his identity and determine that what Mr. Spriestersbach was telling the truth — he was not Mr. Castleberry,” Spriestersbach’s lawyers said in a petition to vacate his prison record.
The Times reported that neither doctors nor psychologists believed Spriestersbach when he told them he wasn’t the man police said he was.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that the lawsuit, filed on Sunday, alleges that medical officials at the state hospital “determined him to be delusional and decompensating, and recommended more medication be administered to Joshua against his will.”
The lawsuit said officials then got a court order to give Sprietersbach “strong anti-psychotic medication” that caused him “much physical and emotional anguish.”
Sprietersbach has been living with his sister in Vermont since his release. One of his lawyers, Alphonse A. Gerhardstein, told The Times that Spriestersbach is afraid to return to Hawaii because he’s still identified as the wrong man in the state’s criminal database.
“It’s outrageous that the officials there have not cleared up this warrant,” Gerhardstein told the Post.
The Hawaii State Hospital referred Insider to the State’s Department of Health for comment, who had not replied at the time of publication.
Read the original article on Insider