Every time Joshua Spriestersbach tried telling the doctors, nurses, and staff at a state hospital in Hawaii that they had the wrong man, no one listened and his protests were answered with drugs. After nearly three years, the blithering idiots running the hospital finally figured out their blunder and instead of fixing their mistake, they covered it up by quietly kicking Spriestersbach out on the street with only 50 cents to his name.
The Hawaii Innocence project is now representing Spriesterbach and this week they asked the court to correct this innocent man’s life. The filing by the Innocence Project explains how the state was looking for a man named Thomas Castleberry and grabbed the first person they saw instead, Spriesterbach.
According to the report, at the time, Spriesterbach was homeless and hungry and was waiting in a food line in 2017 outside of a Honolulu shelter. The line was long and he fell asleep only to be roused awake by a cop who was arresting him. Spriesterbach though he was being arrested for breaking the city’s ordinance of laying down on the sidewalk but he was sorely mistaken.
That officer falsely claimed that Spriesterbach was Thomas Castleberry, who had a warrant out for his arrest for violating probation in a 2006 drug case. Spriesterbach and Castleberry had never met, yet police and every official involved with Spriesterbach’s wrongful kidnapping claimed he was Castleberry.
According to the Innocence Project, the incompetence of the police and hospital officials reached utterly criminal levels as all they needed to do to figure out that Spriesterbach was not Castleberry was to compare fingerprints or photographs — but none of that was done.
Instead, officials claimed Spriesterbach was insane for telling the state they had the wrong guy and he was committed to a state mental facility in Hawaii.
“Yet, the more Mr. Spriestersbach vocalized his innocence by asserting that he is not Mr. Castleberry, the more he was declared delusional and psychotic by the H.S.H. staff and doctors and heavily medicated,” the petition said. “It was understandable that Mr. Spriestersbach was in an agitated state when he was being wrongfully incarcerated for Mr. Castleberry’s crime and despite his continual denial of being Mr. Castleberry and providing all of his relevant identification and places where he was located during Mr. Castleberry’s court appearances, no one would believe him or take any meaningful steps to verify his identity and determine that what Mr. Spriestersbach was telling the truth — he was not Mr. Castleberry.”
The incompetence along the way was systemic. Even his public defenders chose to ignore him instead of simply running his fingerprints or looking at a photo.
Luckily, after spending nearly three years being drugged in a cage, Spriesterbach crossed paths with a competent psychiatrist who finally listened to him. According to the Innocence Project, all it took was a simple Google search to verify Spriesterbach’s identity.