Cedric Wright spent 60 days in custody in St. Louis while protesting that he was arrested on a warrant for a Corey Leonard. Dwayne A. Jackson’s spent almost a month behind bars mistakenly identified as a man with the same name. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch easily found four cases of mistaken identification — three involving incarceration.
Those familiar with the court process suggest there are more. It happens “too often,” said Mary Fox, head of the St. Louis public defender’s office. “It’s not like it happens daily. But if you’re the person sitting in jail, that’s one too many,” she said. Judge John Garvey, who ordered both Jackson’s and Wright’s release, called it “very frustrating” and said, “I just don’t understand how this keeps on happening.” Presiding Judge Steven Ohmer estimated that only a “handful” of defendants are erroneously arrested or charged each year out of more than 2,000 cases. “It’s not a huge problem,” he said. “But it seems like whenever you get one, it’s a mess.”