Lucky Dude: Mistaken identity gets homeless man the forcible mental health treatment he needed--Now he lives on 10ac Farm in Vermont
Mistaken identity lands man in Hawaii mental hospital
(Excerpts from August 3, 2021 AP article with Wisdom-inducing editorial comments in parenthesis)
… Hawaii officials wrongly arrested a homeless man for a crime committed by someone else, locked him up in a state hospital for more than two years, forced him to take psychiatric drugs and then tried to cover up the mistake by quietly setting him free with just 50 cents to his name, the Hawaii Innocence Project said in a court document asking a judge to set the record straight.
(Keep reading: Learn how forcible mental health care got one very lucky Hawaii homeless moved off our streets and onto a 10 ac farm in Vermont.)
A petition filed in court Monday night asks a judge to vacate the arrest and correct Joshua Spriestersbach’s records. The filing lays out his bizarre plight that started with him falling asleep on a sidewalk. He was houseless and hungry while waiting in a long line for food outside a Honolulu shelter on a hot day in 2017.
When a police officer roused him awake, he thought he was being arrested for the city’s ban on sitting or laying down on public sidewalks.
But what he didn’t realize was that the officer mistook him for a man named Thomas Castleberry, who had a warrant out for his arrest for violating probation in a 2006 drug case….
(Sadly, this was all a mistake. If only we had the legal right to incarcerate the mentally ill and drug addicted homeless in mental hospitals we could end homelessness. Here’s the story of how one man’s homelessness has been ended.)
It’s unclear how this happened as Spriestersbach and Castleberry had never met. Spriestersbach somehow ended up with Castleberry as his alias, even though Spriestersbach never claimed to be Castleberry, according to the Hawaii Innocence Project.
Spriestersbach’s attorneys argue it all could have been cleared up if police simply compared the two men’s photographs and fingerprints….
(Fortunately,) No one believed him — not even his various public defenders — until a hospital psychiatrist finally listened.
All it took were simple Google searches and a few phone calls to verify that Spriestersbach was on another island when Castleberry was initially arrested, according to the court document.
(He is so lucky that they waited 2 years to do this! The HGEA's slothfulness and lethargy gave him time to get the care that he needed!)
The psychiatrist asked a detective to come to the hospital, who verified fingerprints and photographs to determine the wrong man had been arrested and Spriestersbach spent two years and eight months institutionalized, the petition said, noting that it wasn’t hard to determine the the real Castleberry has been incarcerated in an Alaska prison since 2016.
(NYT: Spriesterbach is scizophrenic.)
According to records, a 49-year-old man named Thomas R. Castleberry is in the Spring Creek Correctional Facility in Seward, Alaska….
Once the fingerprints and photographs were verified, officials moved quickly, but secretly, to release Spriestersbach in January 2020, the petition said.
“A secret meeting was held with all of the parties, except Mr. Spriestersbach, present. There is no court record of this meeting or no public court record of this meeting. No entry or order reflects this miscarriage of justice that occurred or a finding that Mr. Spriestersbach is not Thomas Castleberry,” the court document said….
Spriestersbach, 50, who lives with his sister in Vermont, (Wow! What an improvement!) declined to comment for this story.
(He is so lucky to have received the forcible mental health care he needed! Too bad it only happens by accident or error.)
His sister, Vedanta Griffith, spent nearly 16 years looking for him. He moved to Hawaii with Griffith when her husband was stationed on Oahu with the Army in 2003. He moved to the Big Island and then disappeared, while suffering mental health issues, she said….
(Translation: He was on the streets for over a decade until he was forcibly incarcerated in a lunatic asylum. Now he lives on a farm in Vermont. He is so lucky! Unfortunately most mentally ill homeless will never have this good fortune.)
Spriestersbach now refuses to leave his sister’s 10-acre property.... (Which is a big improvement over refusing to accept shelter.)
read … Mistaken identity lands man in Hawaii mental hospital