A Kentucky man who was wrongfully jailed for 14 months for child pornography is suing the local prison in which he was held after they charged him $ 4,008 for his stay.
Winchester factory worker David Allen Jones says his life was in shambles after spending more than a year in the Clark County Detention Center for child pornography which was later withdrawn.
To add insult to injury, Jones was charged with his stay – the county jail billed Allen for hygiene supplies and daily allowances – a daily fee charged by the prison for the general upkeep of the inmates.
Jones has sued Clark County and his jailer, Frank Doyle, with a request to reject his bill, but so far the legal system has ruled in favor of the prison, Kentucky.com reported.
David Allen Jones sues Clark County after charging him $ 4,008 for wrongfully incarcerated for child pornography
David Allen Jones was billed for his 14-month incarceration in the Clark County Jail, although all charges against him were dropped
Jones was arrested in October 2013 when Lexington police responded to a tip linking Jones’s IP address to a downloaded child pornography.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Department arrested Jones and raided his apartment.
His bond was set at $ 15,000, which was more than he could afford.
In the months that followed, police were unable to find any evidence of child pornography in any of Jones’s digital devices, while Jones relinquished his right to a lawyer and continued to defend his innocence.
Prosecutors concluded that someone else in Jones’s apartment complex could have accessed Jones’s unsecured wireless network and the charges against him were dropped.
It is unclear whether someone else was subsequently arrested for the child pornography video.
Jones was released from prison in December 2014, but he says the publicity surrounding the arrest forced him to leave his hometown, resulting in the loss of his job, car and friends.
‘My reputation has been shot. I mean, I have people I’ve known for years who have nothing to do with me because they believe the law, ”Jones said.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled against Jones, saying it is legal for prisons to bill inmates for their incarceration, even if they have never been convicted of a crime.
Jones is hearing his case in a second lawsuit that has been reinstated by a federal appeals court and will now be tried in June.
The County’s defense against Jones is one State law of 2000 that requires prisoners to reimburse the costs of incarceration. The law does not state that innocence or guilt is a factor in repayment, but according to Jones’s attorney, it specifies that a prisoner must be convicted before the state can collect fees.
“A prisoner in a district prison is required by the sentencing judge to reimburse the district for expenses incurred as a result of the inmate’s incarceration,” the law states.
Jones’s attorney states that since Jones did not go to trial because his case was never heard, he does not owe Clark County his stay in prison.
“Seizing and keeping innocent people’s money to offset the cost of their incarceration is against the fundamentally American presumption of innocence,” Jones’s lawyers wrote.
Jones’ bill contained one $ 35 reservation fee, $ 10 per day for each day of his incarceration, $ 5 for hygiene products upon arrival, and $ 2.69 for replacement hygiene products, state attorneys said.
The county’s lawyers said the fees are non-punitive and there is nothing illegal about charging for services rendered to people in custody.
Jones’s attorney disagrees and believes it is unfair to charge someone with their incarceration when acquitted of the crime they were accused of.
The government cannot punish people unless and until they are found guilty of the crimes they are said to have committed. Still, for years, the counties of Kentucky routinely keep the money they confiscate from individuals when they are admitted to their prisons, ostensibly to offset the cost of their incarceration, after charges against such individuals have been dismissed or acquitted, ” the attorney said from Jones in a short.
Over a recent five-year period, Kentucky prisons reported nearly $ 20.9 million in inmate booking and housing costs, with only about half of the 80 local prisons charging fees ranging between $ 50,000 and $ 300,000.
Some prisons have not claimed inmate fees, which means it just depends on where a prisoner is being held to determine whether or not they will be billed.
Clark County Jail is one of the Kentucky prisons that does charge their inmates, but financial records show that of the $ 107,360 billed to inmates, the prison raised just $ 12,374 in the past two years, the Lexington Herald reported. -Ledger.