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Hawaii Ex-prisoner Awarded $83,000 for Being Held 83 Days Past Release Date

Former Hawaii prisoner Wade T. Itagaki, who was held at the Oahu Community Correctional Center in Honolulu for 83 days after his sentence expired on Sept. 5, 2006, was awarded $83,000 by a federal jury in February 2011.

When prison officials realized their mistake, Itagaki, a homeless veteran, was quickly released without any preparation and no money.

According to his attorney, Myles Breiner, “They showed him out the door and said, ‘See you later.’ The result was he walked two miles out of the valley to the nearest bus stop.
He had no money, even though he had money on his books he had earned while in prison.”

Following the verdict, Breiner said the jurors were “very sympathetic ... [and] recognized there was responsibility that the Department of Safety has to anyone who is incarcerated, their responsibility to maintain the records, their responsibility to make sure a person is released in a timely fashion.”

The Department of Public Safety argued that an error by a circuit court judge had resulted in the erroneous late release. Both parties have cross-appealed, and their appeals remain pending.

Another of Itagaki’s attorneys, Eric Seitz, noted that Itagaki had severe diabetes and uses a wheelchair. “I don’t know if he’ll live to see the money,” he said. See: Itagaki v. Frank, U.S.D.C. (D. Hawaii), Case No. 1:09-cv-00110.


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Related legal case

Itagaki v. Frank