43-year-old New Haven resident Demetrius Anderson is not going to prison, following a week of uncertainty regarding a decade-old court miscommunication.
On Feb. 28 — in his 13th year after his release from prison in 2006 — U.S. marshals came to Anderson’s house to serve an arrest warrant, citing that Anderson had not fully served a 16-month sentence from a counterfeit money crime he committed in 2003. Sixteen years ago, Anderson was sentenced twice on separate but similar charges in both federal and state courts and served three years — the longer of the two sentences — before he was released in 2006. However, Anderson’s Attorney Michael Dolan told the News that Anderson no longer faces 16 months in prison because the Bureau of Prisons and U.S. Attorney’s Office acknowledged last Thursday that Anderson had already served his sentence.
“This is a win,” Dolan told the News in an interview on Thursday evening. “I was told that there was nothing that could be done. I didn’t find that acceptable. So, we worked hard. We overcame that opposition to [Anderson] being at liberty.”
Dolan said that sentences in the country are to be served continuously, not in intervals. The Federal Bureau of Prisons determined his sentence was completed, according to Dolan. Due to this finding, Anderson is threatened by an additional 16 months in prison.
In 2005, Anderson pled guilty to two federal counts of possessing and passing counterfeit currency, as well as one count of identity theft in Pennsylvania for crimes that occured in the same year. He was sentenced to 16 months for these charges. Shortly afterwards, Anderson was charged by state courts for separate counterfeit currency charges and was sentenced to three years in state custody in New Haven.
Anderson said that he believed that the two sentences ran concurrent to each other, meaning that the 16-month sentence would be a part of the three-year sentence. But Dolan told the News that “the Federal system did not recognize Connecticut’s order that the two charges be run concurrent.”
Anderson was scheduled for a hearing in the U.S. District Court of Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon but did not have to make an appearance because Judge Paul Diamond from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District postponed the hearing. Still, Dolan said that Diamond, who originally signed Anderson’s arrest warrant, has not commented on his client’s sentence. This led Dolan to “assume that the judge accepts the conclusion that the jail sentence and supervised release has been satisfied.”
Diamond also signed an order that postponed the April 4 hearing and required relevant parties to submit legal memoranda by April 17 that would address whether Anderson still has an obligation to pay $4,140 in restitution, Dolan told the News. According to a joint motion filed on April 2 by United States Attorney William McSwain and Assistant United States Attorney Albert Glenn, the restitution currently discussed was originally ordered by the court in 2005 and is in relation to Anderson’s counterfeit currency charges. Anderson is still required to go to court to settle the details of the case early next month.
On Thursday, the case’s defense and prosecution filed a joint motion that requests Anderson not be required to be supervised by a probation officer under supervised release — “based on the theory that he’s done so well, that there’s no need for it at this point.” Whether Anderson will face supervision has not yet been determined.
Over the last 13 years since his release from prison, Anderson worked various jobs, becoming “a manager at a big-box retailer” for five years before getting a job with the City of New Haven in the Parks and Recreation Department. He also works a second job in human resources for a community nonprofit. Dolan noted that Anderson is an active member of his church and has led a “law-abiding life” since his 2006 release.
“I’ve been doing great, maintaining good rapport and networking. It’s just been a good balance. No run-ins with law since coming home. It just feels good. It wasn’t hard to turn my life around,” Anderson said of his life after his 2006 release.
The fact that Demetrius had not served the 16-month sentence was discovered during a recent audit by U.S. marshals. Dolan told the News on March 26 that the “negligence of the system” — whether from federal agents’ failure to provide proper notification of the dual sentences, the State’s failure to recognize the notification or the U.S. marshals’ lack of oversight in their previous audits — is evidence of the illegality of the confinement.
Anderson’s next court hearing is expected on May 1.
Sammy Westfall | firstname.lastname@example.org