Prisoner spends months in jail 'unaware his bail was $2'
A prisoner spent almost five months behind bars unaware he could have been freed by paying just a few dollars, his lawyers have claimed.
Aitabdel Salem, 41, was an inmate at the notorious Rikers Island prison in New York City, with his bail set at just $2, the New York Daily News reports.
The Queens resident was initially jailed for allegedly attacking a police officer who arrested him for stealing a coat, police say.
His bail was set at $25,000 but when prosecutors failed to get an indictment he was ordered to be released.
The dollar bail remained however, stopping his release, with his current lawyers blaming his previous attorney for the mix-up. He was charged with bail jumping after he failed to turn up to court.
“You can’t do what you don’t know and if you’re a defendant in a criminal case you certainly have a right to rely upon the system [to find out] what you next court date is,” said his attorney Theodore Goldbergh, according to the newspaper.
His other attorney, Glenn Hardy, added: “[Salem] was shocked and dismayed and frustrated that his case was unconscionably mishandled and there was no communication by his attorney telling him his bail was $2 which he could have made at any moment.”
Mr Salem remains in the prison as his bail was raised to $30,000 after he missed the court date, the Daily News adds. He also faces charges for tampering with a cash machine.
Meanwhile, another prisoner received 37 years in solitary confinement for secret Facebook posts.
While a homeless man who helped catch prison escapees has received a $100,000 reward.
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