Sheldon Dottin, a 49-year-old murder suspect, was mistakenly released from custody due to a clerical error in court paperwork in New York City. The error occurred at Queens Criminal Court, where Dottin was attending a hearing on murder charges.
Miscommunication between the court and the New York City Department of Correction led to his brief release, allowing him to freely walk out of the court building.
Dottin is accused of the murder of his ex-girlfriend’s 72-year-old father, which took place in Queens last year. After the murder, Dottin fled and was eventually apprehended in Panama. He was extradited to the United States and held at Rikers Island for over a year.
The mistake was realized shortly after his release, prompting authorities to respond swiftly. The Regional Fugitive Task Force was called in, and Dottin was located and rearrested early Thursday morning in an apartment building in East New York, Brooklyn. He was subsequently taken back to court.
The situation arose when the court informed the Department of Correction that Dottin’s indictment had been dismissed, leading to his release.
NYC Murder Suspect Mistakenly Freed Due to Clerical Error
However, a New York Unified Court System statement clarified the circumstances. According to the statement, a Criminal Court judge dismissed a complaint, and an arrest warrant was no longer necessary for Dottin’s return to court.
The paperwork issued to the Department of Correction indicated Dottin should continue to be held if there were any other charges, warrants, or detainers against him.
Despite this instruction, Dottin was erroneously released. The statement emphasized that other charges were pending against Dottin and that the Department of Correction had a Supreme Court order remanding him, which should have prevented his release.
This incident highlights the potential consequences of clerical errors in the legal system, especially in cases involving serious charges like murder. The authorities’ quick response in rearresting Dottin prevented any further complications from this administrative oversight.
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