DOC releases detainee by mistake

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Department of Corrections (PNC file photo)

Guam – Over the weekend a detainee was accidentally released from the Department of Corrections, an honest mistake says DOC Director Tony Lamorena.

The detainee was Ben Espinosa who is confined to the prison in multiple cases and because of the mistake for a brief time he was a free man. According to Lamorena over the weekend the Department of Corrections received an order to release him and so he was released not realizing that Espinosa was being held in other cases.

How did this happen?

Lamorena shares that often times a detainee may have multiple cases and those cases may be under different judges purview. This means that while a defendant can be released on one case they may also be held in another. This was the case for Espinosa. When DOC received the confinement list six cases were listed which matched up with the release order, but a separate confinement order was also received listing two other cases. It wasn’t until a cross check was conducted that DOC caught the mistake.

Lamorena stresses that the offenses against Espinosa are not violent as other media has sensationalized it, stating “we didn’t release a murderer.” Instead he shares that Espinosa is confined on charges related to traffic violations and small claims court violations.

But the mistake was still made and as a result an internal affairs investigation has been launched to look into the incident. Lamorena also adds that Espinosa was picked up without incident over the weekend as well indicating that he was not on the loose for a lengthy period of time.

SOURCEJolene Toves
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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.