Walter Mann Sr., 69, spend 15 months in a Dallas County jail without facing a criminal charge, says the Dallas Morning News. He had no visitors. He wondered in a letter about the fate of his wife and kids. He languished until a week ago, when a public defender realized someone had made a big mistake. “I have never ever seen somebody held this long without anything holding them,” said E.A. Srere of the Dallas County public defender’s office. “I think it’s a case of somebody who slipped through the cracks, and nobody figured it out.”
Mann’s story began in summer 2002, when his 13-year-old son assaulted him. Mann was assessed $50 monthly to house the boy in a juvenile detention center. He didn’t pay, so the district attorney’s office filed a motion in 2004 for contempt of juvenile court. After he failed to appear for a hearing, the court issued a “writ of attachment” that commanded authorities to bring him before a judge. He waited in jail for more than a year, but a ruling never was made in the contempt case, in which the maximum jail sentence would have been six months. Sgt. Don Peritz, a Sheriff’s Department spokesman, said, “We hold them until the judge says to hold him no longer.” During his time in jail, Mann made multiple visits back to the juvenile court for his contempt case. Each time, the case was postponed.