Teresa Culpepper was mistakenly locked in the Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail for 53 days, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. All that time she insisted she was not the woman police wanted for throwing hot water on Angelo Boyd — a man she had never met, a man who said he had never met her either. At any time during those 53 days, various entities in the justice system could have saved her from the cracks she had fallen through.
Day after day they ignored protestations that “you've got the wrong person,” something most of them hear all the time. Even with things that “didn't add up,” police and prosecutors moved forward with a case against Culpepper. The case continued even though Boyd told police and prosecutors several times Culpepper was not the woman who attacked him. The system's checks and balances simply did not work for Teresa Culpeper. Aimee Maxwell of the Georgia Innocence Project said arrests based on mistaken identities are common. “I think it's a rare occurrence when people find out about it,” she said. As in Culpepper's case, mistaken arrests usually can be traced to similar names.