It’s unfortunately not uncommon for innocent individuals to be wrongfully accused of a crime and placed behind bars. This situation was the story for a Kentucky man who spent over a year in prison for a crime he did not commit. The twist? Although proven to not be the original culprit, after his release he was served a bill for the time served!
The Lexington Herald-Leader shared a report of a man by the name of David Allen Jones of Kentucky whose life is forever changed. Jones was employed at the Winchester Factory when in October of 2013, he was charged for child pornography.
Jones would, unfortunately, spend the next 14 months behind bars due to him not being able to make his bail, which was set at $15,000. Lexington police claim to have traced the IP address from whence the illicit material had been downloaded back to his computer.
Throughout the whole time, Jones maintained that he was innocent. Deeper investigations would reveal later in December of 2014 that none of his devices contained any such material that he was accused of, and no trace of evidence had been found after multiple searches of his apartment.
Finally, Jones was a free man, but his freedom would come with a cost. Acting “in accordance” to a 2000 Kentucky state law, the detention center handed him a bill that equaled over $4,000. Said law states that “A prisoner in a county jail shall be required by the sentencing court to reimburse the county for expenses incurred by reason of the prisoner’s confinement.”
Talk about adding insult to injury. The charges are said to include a $35 booking fee, $10 daily housing fee, $5 hygiene fee and a nearly $3 hygiene supply refill fee.
But Jones is not going down without a fight. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Kentucky Supreme Court will decide soon whether or not it was unconstitutional, and Jones is suing Clark County and its jailer, Frank Doyle, in order for the bill to be dismissed. Jones also claims he had to leave town while losing friends, his job, and all that he has worked for thanks to the amount of publicity surrounding his case.
Stating that the actions of those who jailed Jones “an affront to the bedrock American principle that a citizen is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Jones’s lawyers vow to fight tooth and nail.
“The government can’t punish people unless and until they are found guilty of the crimes they are alleged to have committed,” wrote his lawyers in a brief. “Yet Kentucky counties have for years routinely kept the money they confiscate from persons on admission to their jails, allegedly to offset the costs of their confinement, after the charges against such persons have been dismissed or they have been acquitted.”
Jones hopes that his reputation, which he says has been “shot”, will be restored when all is said and done.