Ivan Haynes of Philadelphia was headed to a wedding when the car veered off the road and hit a guardrail. New Jersey state police asked for IDs, and the next thing he knew, he was in custody for failure to appear in court on old Pennsylvania marijuana possession charges. He stayed there for 41 days this summer, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Because his cellphone was confiscated, the only way he could communicate with the outside world was to write a letter to his son. Finally he had an extradition hearing in New Jersey, at which he was represented by a public defender. Haynes said the judge was angry he’d been held so long. The Inquirer could find no official to explain why Haynes was jailed so long. An American Civil Liberties Union official said Haynes’ story is an example of how life-altering even a misdemeanor can be for someone unfamiliar with the criminal justice system. “In 2016, nobody should spend an hour in jail for possession of marijuana – let alone days,” said the ACLU’s Ari Rosmarin. “He had 40 days of no income.”