Texas sheriff’s office to investigate why man given long prison term was released from jail by mistake

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A Harris County, Texas man who was sentenced to 25 years in prison is back in custody after erroneously getting released from jail on Wednesday, according to law enforcement officials.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office asked for the public’s help in finding Marcelo Perez Campos, 61, who was released from jail because of an “apparent” clerical error.

Marcelo Perez Campos Booking Photo

Marcelo Perez Campos Booking Photo (Harris County Sheriff’s Office)

Campos, a statement from the sheriff’s office noted, was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Feb. 20, 2023, after being convicted of aggravated assault of a family member.

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Since his sentencing, Campos has been waiting in the Harris County Jail, awaiting his transfer to the state prison.

The sheriff’s office turned to social media at about 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, seeking the public’s help in locating Campos after he had been released from jail accidentally.

Just before 2 a.m. on Thursday, the sheriff’s office tweeted that Campos had been located and was returned to the Harris County Jail.

The sheriff’s office said an internal investigation into why Campos was released erroneously will be conducted to determine if policy or procedural violations occurred.

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Anyone with information about the inmate’s release is encouraged to contact the Harris County Sheriff’s Office at 713-755-6055 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

This is not the first time someone has been erroneously released, and likely will not be the last.

Man in prison hands of behind hold Steel cage jail bars. 

Man in prison hands of behind hold Steel cage jail bars.  (iStock)

FOX 26 in Houston reported in March 2022 that the Harris County Jail automatically released nearly 300 defendants because of a computer glitch.

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According to the report, Magistrate Courtney St. Julian said Jweb, a system prosecutors use for criminal cases, was not in operation from about 7 p.m. on March 24, 2022, through 9 p.m. on March 26, and that more than 280 defendants in custody had not received probable cause hearings.

The law requires defendants to have a probable cause hearing within 48 hours of being arrested. As a result, nearly 300 defendants were released from jail.

Regardless of charge, whether it was burglary or murder, everyone was released without bond conditions such as ankle monitors or distance requirements.

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The Harris County DA said at the time that those released would be re-arrested and scheduled for probable cause hearings.

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