An Innocent Man Spent 5-Days in Jail After Being Mistaken for a Fugitive With the Same Name

Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

A Florida man, Leonardo Silva Oliveira aged 26 was arrested in Broward County last week, and released on January 25 after 5-days in jail when police finally accepted they’d got the wrong man.

Police were searching for another Leonardo Siva Oliveira, also aged 26 who was wanted for probation violation. While it could be excused as a case of mistaken identity, there appear to be questions to be answered.

The wanted man was known to have clearly identifiable tattoos on each arm, where the innocent man had no tattoos. Perhaps more concerning is that the Mr Oliveira who was arrested did not match fingerprints held on file for the fugitive.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Finally, it was noted by the innocent man’s attorney that there were obvious differences in size between him and the fugitive — the fugitive weighed 213 pounds when he was arrested in 2017. The innocent man weighed less than 150 pounds!

It seems a little surprising that it took 5 full days for the police to accept these pieces of evidence. But often, a few coincidences can be enough for police to detain the wrong people. It happened in Florida in September 2019, based on a similarity between the names and appearances of a fugitive and an innocent person:

Source: YouTube

An innocent man

His arrest outside the restaurant in Deerfield Beech, was the first time Mr Oliveira had-had any dealings with the police — he has no criminal record whatsoever. Nonetheless, he was put in jail while police took 5-days to confirm his identity.

Describing his time in jail, Mr Oliveira painted a grim picture of the experience:

“I was on 24-hour lockdown. I finally got out of the cell for an hour a day Saturday, Sunday and Monday. It was a little window, no TV. Nothing to do but just stare at the walls and try to stay warm.”

Mistaken identity leads to 17-years in prison

The 5-days that Mr Oliveira spent in jail were unpleasant and unnecessary, but others have suffered much more serious cases of mistaken identity.

Richard Jones of Kansas City, Kansas was wrongly incarcerated after being convicted of aggravated robbery. He spent 17-years in prison before his conviction was overturned. He looked very similar to the man who had committed the actual crime, but his resemblance alone shouldn’t have been enough to convict him, surely?

Source: Youtube

Mr Jones was compensated with a payout of $1.1 million thanks to a mistaken-conviction law in the state.

It remains to be seen if the innocent Mr Oliveira will seek compensation.

If you enjoy reading stories like this, and would to like to support writers on Medium, consider signing up to become a Medium member. It’s $5 a month, giving you unlimited access to stories. If you sign up using my link, I’ll earn a small commission. Thanks for reading.

--

--

--

Ducking and Diving (and Writing) - wc.canard22@gmail.com

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

The Travesty of “No-Knock” Warrants and Qualified Immunity

George Floyd and Breonna Taylor protest in Chapel Hill. Source: Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ge

Researching and Using Washington’s Public Records Act

Two red file folder boxes stand upright on a woodgrain surface. The boxes have white labels on them and are surrounded by shadowy lighting.

2020–08–19 Police Commission Meeting

Let’s Try Constructive Release to Diminish Mass Incarceration in America

The Financial Impact of Criminal Charges — An Unequal Debt to Society (Part Three)

Met Police officer Francois Olwage found guilty of arranging to meet 13-year-old girl for sex | UK…

The Department of Justice is getting serious about the Contempt of Congress case against Steve…

Alternatives to Incarceration: NBRJC Launches Campaign to Fight Mass-Incarceration

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
WC Canard

WC Canard

Ducking and Diving (and Writing) - wc.canard22@gmail.com

More from Medium

How Lou Brock Saved Me

A Police Sergeant Has Been Demoted After Body-Cameras Caught Him Grabbing Another Officer by the…

How Would MLK Judge the January 6th Riot at the Capitol?

Cabaret: A Retrospective Amid the Return of Fascism