The more the innocent man vocalised his innocence, the more “he was declared delusional and psychotic by the Hawaii State Hospital’s staff and doctors.”
Hawaii officials made a horrific mistake after they locked up the wrong person in a mental hospital for a crime someone else committed – and it took them almost three years to notice their error.
To make matters much worse, they forced innocent Joshua Spriestersbach to take psychiatric drugs throughout his arrest. According to court documents, the more he vocalised his innocence, the more “he was declared delusional and psychotic by the Hawaii State Hospital’s staff and doctors.”
Once the hospital realised their unforgivable mishap, they attempted to cover their tracks by setting him free quietly – with just 50 cents in his pocket. Ken Lawson, the co-founder of the Hawaii Innocence Project, alleged, “They didn’t make any record at all and made it seem like this never happened.”
“I think that they were hoping because he struggles with mental health disabilities, because he’s houseless, no one would believe his story.”
The Hawaii Innocence Project filed a lawsuit on Monday about the wrongly arrested 50-year-old, who was homeless and hungry “while waiting in a long line for food outside a Honolulu shelter on a hot day in 2017.”
The document recalled the night Joshua was arrested: “When a police officer roused him awake, he thought he was being arrested for the city’s ban on sitting or laying down on public sidewalks.
But what he didn’t realise was that the officer mistook him for a man named Thomas Castleberry, who had a warrant out for his arrest for violating probation in a 2006 drug case.”
“Instead of taking 5 minutes to just get the photograph, or Google the real Castleberry, they would have found out that the real Thomas Castleberry’s been locked up in Alaska since 2015. He’s still in prison now,” Lawson said.
Two months after his release in January, Joshua contacted his family. His sister, who he now lives with in Vermont, said he was “a shell of his former self, he was overly medicated, and looked like he’d been through hell.”
“He’s (Spriestersbach) so afraid that if he leaves the property where his sister lives, that they’re going to take him and not release him again”, Lawson added.
A court date is yet to be confirmed.
Indy100 reached out to the State of Hawaii’s Department of Health for comment.