Okla. Man Says 'There Needs To Be More Accountability' After He Was Jailed For Months Without A Hearing
OKLAHOMA COUNTY - Documents show a man sat in the Oklahoma County Jail for eight months without a court date.
Charles Lemons, 49, was jailed in mid-July after failing to register as a sex offender.
“I didn't know what to do,” said Lemons. “I felt stuck, I felt abounded and I wasn't being heard at all.”
According to paperwork, Lemons believed his court date was August 8. He says he prepared for court that morning and was told by deputies he wasn’t on a list to go to court.
He asked multiple times after that what was going on.
“We kind of continued that for a couple of days, not every day,” said Lemons. “I was supposed to go to court and they said I wasn’t on the list, and that they’ll let the judge figure that out. And that never happened.”
It took a contracted jail pyschologist to get down to the bottom of the situation after seven months of Lemons behind bars.
“Within five or six days, they came and pulled me for arraignment, which you're supposed to get in three days,” said Lemons.
The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office says no formal request was made my Lemons. They're investigating whether informal requests were made to deputies that went unreported.
Sheriff Spokesman Mark Opgrande says all documentation in Lemons’ case was sent to the county courthouse. A date for a hearing was never announced.
Deputies within the jail spent Friday morning conducting another headcount to ensure each inmate had a court date.
“We had 100% accountability, so everyone in there had answered those questions to our satisfaction,” said Opgrande. “The courts are aware that they are here and they either have a court date set up and they are in the system.”
Opgrande says an updated computer system would have likely flagged Lemons’ status.
The current system, Opgrande says, dates to the late 1990s.
Now out of jail, Lemons says something needs to change and quick.
"There needs to be more accountability,” said Lemons. “Somebody has to check on somebody. We have to answer to somebody, and I feel like nobody is answering to anything.”