Teresa Culpepper didn’t assault anybody. She didn’t throw hot water on anybody. She didn’t match the description of the person who did. For one thing, she was the wrong height, and didn’t have a gold tooth. Nobody claimed she did it. The victim of the assault said that it wasn’t her — he even said it in open court.
Nevertheless, Teresa Culpepper spent 53 days in jail because the state arrested her for that offense and then wouldn’t release her. She spent the time in jail because she couldn’t afford the bail. While in jail, she lost her car and her possessions. She has to pay back the disability payments she received during that period because you aren’t allowed to get federal disability payments when you’re in jail, even if you’re in jail by accident and murderous indifference.
Teresa Culpepper had no prior record.
Aimee Maxwell, executive director of the Georgia Innocence Project, said arrests based on mistaken identities are common. “I think it’s a rare occurrence when people find out about it,” she said.
The state doesn’t try to convince you this never happens — they admit it. The state doesn’t try to deny that mistakes were made — they admit it.
What the state wants you to believe is that this is a bug, not a feature, of the criminal justice system.
Hat tip to Joe.