Inmate held for nearly a year and a half with no trial date -- a record.


August 23, 1991|By Thomas W. Waldron and Raymond L. Sanchez | Thomas W. Waldron and Raymond L. Sanchez,Evening Sun Staff

An inmate has been held on a shoplifting charge at the city jail for 16 months with no trial, according to jail officials.

Darryl E. Dodd, 30, has been in jail custody since April 5, 1990, said jail officials and prosecutors.

our knowledge, no action has been taken since then," said Leonard A. Sipes Jr., a jail spokesman. Officials yesterday arranged for Dodd to stand trial Sept. 4 in city Circuit Court on the charge of theft under $300 and two lesser charges, Sipes said.

OC Officials of the jail, known as Baltimore City Detention Center

since the state assumed control of it July 1, discovered Dodd's plight during a review of inmate records.

Dodd, whose last address was on Fulton Ave., was arrested in December 1988 for shoplifting, said Patricia Jessamy, deputy state's attorney for Baltimore. Dodd failed to appear for his April 1989 trial. He was arrested again in July 1989 and brought to the jail, Sipes said.

In October 1989, he was transferred to the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Inmates are usually transferred to the health department for pretrial mental evaluations, Jessamy said.

Later that month, a judge released Dodd because the jail had failed to file the proper detainer, which would have kept the man in custody, Sipes said.

After the mistake was discovered, a judge issued a new warrant for Dodd's arrest. He was arrested in April 1990 and brought back to the jail to await trial, Sipes said.

Jessamy said prosecutors checked on Dodd's status in court records several times. Each time, the records showed there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest when, in fact, he was locked up at the jail.

The maximum penalty for theft under $300 is a $500 fine and 18 months in prison, Jessamy said. She said she did not know how prosecutors would handle Dodd's case at trial.

Dodd appears to have set a record of sorts, as being held the longest at the jail without a trial. Martin R. Henn, a homeless man held on an arson charge for 13 months, was released last week. Officials have identified 93 inmates being held without court dates. Nearly all of those inmates now have court dates scheduled.

State officials said the records maintained by the city administration were sloppy.

"The recordkeeping system is inadequate at best," Sipes said. "The place is a mess."

Court records show that three different public defenders represented Dodd at one time since his arrest. Public defenders were not available today to comment on his case.

Baltimore Circuit Court Administrative Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan said Dodd's plight was "not right." But, he said, it was understandable considering the massive flow of inmates the jail handles every day.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.