In April, Miguel Macias was released after being locked up for 42 days in a Miami-Dade jail.
The Miami man was falsely charged with the kidnap and rape of a then-18-year-old woman after she found his Facebook profile and identified the man as her rapist.
A DNA test eventually exonerated him.
Macias had never even met the woman.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office brought these serious charges against Macias without evidence, disregarding his solid alibi, incarcerating him for a month-and-a-half.
Kathleen Hoague, an assistant attorney, tried to explain their baseless abduction and prosecution to Local 10 News.
“We are very sorry that the man was in custody for the period of time that he was, but as soon as we found out we did what we had to do and we released him. This happens all the time. You know, okay? This is not the first time this happened and it won’t be the last.”
If “this happens all the time” like Hoague said, then the justice system is even more broken than we had thought.
The practice of throwing people in jail until they can prove themselves innocent runs contrary to the justice system we expect in America.
Locking a person behind bars – in one of the toughest jails in the country – places tremendous pressure on them to cut any deal that might eventually return their freedom.
The pressure of incarceration – knowing that the rent is due and that your family is counting on your now lost income – would make almost anyone desperate.
Miami-Dade’s DA had little more than the victim’s guess based on Macias’s Facebook profile, and a 42 day imprisonment without bail ensued.
And no, Hoague wasn’t exaggerating; it does happen all the time in Miami-Dade.
Just this past March 2015, David Foster was released after being held for three years on a false murder charge.
Foster had been charged by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office with a double murder that he witnessed, but didn’t commit. Foster had a pistol but forensic evidence proved three years later that the murders had been committed with an AK-47.
In April 2015, news broke that the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office dropped a murder charge against Louiskenson Avril, releasing him more than a year after arresting him.
Like Macias, Avril had been identified based on a Facebook profile picture.
Charges were dropped because there was no solid evidence linking Avril to the crime.
In May, Twane Dobard was set free after almost a year-and-a-half when DNA evidence cleared him of the murder charges brought by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. DNA testing in the case was done very slowly and even when the first tests came back, Dobard says he was not notified and that the DNA was sent out for more testing.
During the entire process of conducting the multiple tests, Dobard remain locked up.
In case after disturbing case, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has been living up to Hoague’s claim that they jail people despite a lack of evidence “all the time.”