Dangerous New Orleans convict released due to typo

CNN
CrimeTracker
Friday, July 4, 2014 - 4:08pm

It happens to most of us every day. We make typos on our computer keyboards. But for most of us those typos couldn't put someone's life on the line.

Last week, 30-year-old Isaiah Spencer pled guilty as charged to second degree battery and false imprisonment for beating up his ex girlfriend so badly that she had to have her spleen removed.

The arrest warrant shows the victim told spencer she didn't want to have sex with him that night. So he punched her on her left side, kicked her there, then stomped on her back.

She said she “became paralyzed" and couldn't move and was in indescribable pain.

Spencer took her phone and wouldn't let her call for help until the next morning.

Mary Claire Landry heads up the family justice center and has worked with the victim in this case.

“The majority of cases are misdemeanor cases, which means they're in the municipal court. They're not really in the Criminal District Court, so this is a felony case, which means it's a very serious situation.”

These court records show that an error in one number allowed spencer out of jail just hours after the victim took the witness stand against him.

Spencer's plea shows he was sentenced to 33 months in jail with credit for time served, but the sentencing sheet shows a sentence of just three months.

It's a horrendous error.

Judge Arthur Hunter signed off on the sentence, as did his minute clerk, and that's how it was entered into the system. A spokesman for Orleans Sheriff Marlin Gusman says it was a legal release from their standpoint because that's how it was entered into the system.

“She thinks she's gonna be safe for 33 months. She agreed to that. You know. She was in the court for that and to then have that be mistaken.”

In their short, three-month relationship, court records also show that Spencer gave the victim a black eye and tried to choke her.

While Judge Arthur Hunter signed a protective order to keep spencer away from the woman, it's little consolation until he's back behind bars.

“For some of these cases, it really could put the victim at very serious risk. And so, we just have to make sure these kinds of errors don't happen in the future.” 

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