Man detained more than 2 years because of mistaken identity sues Hawaii

A Hawaii man who was incarcerated and in a psychological establishment for greater than two years due to a case of mistaken id has sued the state, some Honolulu cops, public defenders and medical doctors.

Joshua Spriestersbach repeatedly informed authorities he was not Thomas Castleberry, a person who had a warrant out for his arrest for allegedly violating probation in a 2006 drug case, his attorneys stated within the lawsuit, filed Sunday.

However police, public defenders and medical doctors at Hawaii State Hospital, the place Spriestersbach had been handled earlier than, ignored his plight.

Those that ought to have been advocating for him used his “protests concerning his id as proof of his incompetency,” the go well with stated. “He was pressured to take psychiatric drugs in growing doses till he turned catatonic, all as a result of Joshua continued to claim that he was not Thomas R. Castleberry and had not dedicated any of Thomas R. Castleberry’s felony crimes.”


Spriestersbach’s 32-month detention started whereas he was ready in a line for meals and fell asleep. Spriestersbach had been approached by police in Honolulu at the very least twice earlier than. The primary time, he had given officers his grandfather’s identify, William C. Castleberry, which he would use once in a while, in keeping with the go well with.

Joshua Spriestersbach in Danby, Vermont on April 12, 2020. Vedanta Griffith / through AP

Thomas Castleberry’s identify was subsequently listed as an alias of Spriestersbach, though he had not provided that identify. When officers twice realized Castleberry and Spriestersbach weren’t the identical individual, they launched Spriestersbach, however didn’t appropriate police information, the go well with stated.

When Spriestersbach was stopped a 3rd time, he was arrested on Castleberry’s 8-year warrant.

Police “didn’t confirm Joshua’s id by evaluating his identify, picture, fingerprints, and date of beginning to that of Thomas R. Castleberry, the go well with stated.

Spriestersbach was adamant that he was not Castleberry and had not dedicated his crimes, and at one level was capable of produce his Social Safety and state identification playing cards, however officers “continued to illegally incarcerate Joshua for 2 extra years,” the go well with stated.

Even Hawaii State Hospital medical doctors who had handled Spriestersbach beforehand didn’t imagine him or examine his claims, it stated.

In January 2020, a physician did confirm Spriestersbach’s id.

He was launched with 50 cents to his identify, two copies of his beginning certificates and his state identification and Social Safety playing cards. He was pushed again to the homeless shelter the place he was arrested from in 2017.

“Joshua suffered particular and basic financial and non-economic damages to be confirmed at trial, together with pressured medical therapy and medicine, lack of freedom, nice psychological anguish, extreme emotional misery, anxiousness, embarrassment, humiliation, fear, and anger,” the go well with stated.

He’s suing in hopes {that a} mix-up just like the one he was the sufferer of by no means occurs once more to him or anybody else, in keeping with his attorneys. They warn that information figuring out Spriestersbach as Castleberry haven’t been corrected.

Additionally they stated that Castleberry’s information now record Spriestersbach as an alias, which they allege was “an try to cover-up, clarify and excuse the gross miscarriage of justice that was carried out.”

Gary Yamashiroya, particular assistant to the Hawaii lawyer basic, informed The Related Press Monday that the division “has not been served with the grievance and haven’t but had the chance to evaluation it with our shopper companies.”

The Honolulu Police Division “is presently reviewing division insurance policies and procedures to find out if modifications are wanted, Interim Chief Rade Vanic stated. “We’re additionally persevering with to work with metropolis attorneys to completely examine and tackle the allegations within the lawsuit.”

State Public Defender James Tabe stated Monday that his workplace had no remark.