Columbus mom's persistence gets son released from "Dead Time" - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus mom's persistence gets son released from "Dead Time"

By Roslyn Giles  - email | bio

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Donna Powell and her 18 year old son, Michael Sweet are reunited. Sweet has been in the Muscogee County Jail serving "Dead Time" for a year which is when inmates do not receive credit for time served.  

"They said it won't be credited to his time due to his situation. It couldn't be credited at all because the judge specified and said he has to go to boot camp," says Powell.

After nine months of sitting behind bars waiting to start his 6 to 24 month sentence at boot camp, he realized something was wrong. "They wouldn't give me any answers.  I called my public defender, she said it's out of my hands now, I kept calling my mom telling her to check up on it," says Sweet.

That's when Sweet's mom called News Leader 9.  We investigated, calling the probation office and leaving several messages. Even though we didn't receive any return calls, Sweet's mom finally did.

"The probation office called me this morning and said he is going to court Monday morning.  So, I was very excited about that," says Powell.

Then something bizarre happened.

"That was round 1 o'clock, they called me back at 4 o'clock and said he has already been to court and I called back to the jail and they said he has already been released," says Powell.

Michael was finally free.

"He could have been there for years and years, no one would know because they actually lost the paperwork. I know he wouldn't be sitting here if I hadn't called the news channel, that's the result I got my child here for Christmas," added Powell.

The Department of Corrections says it has more than 400 inmates on a waiting list to be transferred to detention facilities. The normal wait time is 4 to 7 weeks, but on a first come first serve basis, according to spokesperson Kristen Stancio.

"In regards to Michael Sweet, we received the DPC referral on December 4, 2009. According to our current wait time, he could be processed in intake between January 4, and January 22, 2010," says Stancio.

When asked if that would have been beyond his required sentence time? Stancio replied, "That information I don't have."



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