Mistaken identity lands man in Hawaii mental hospital

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In this photo provided by Vedanta Griffith, Joshua Spriestersbach enjoys birthday cake on April 12, 2020, in Danby, Vt. The Hawaii Innocence Project says, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, Spriestersbach was wrongfully arrested for someone else’s crime and then committed to a state hospital for more than two years because officials mixed him up with someone else. (Vedanta Griffith via AP)

HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii Innocence Project says officials wrongfully arrested a homeless man for a crime committed by another person, locked him up in a state hospital for more than two years, forced him to take powerful medication and then tried to cover up the mistake by quietly setting him free.

Attorneys representing Joshua Spriestersbach say he somehow got confused for a man named Thomas Castleberry, who was wanted over allegedly violating probation on a drug case.

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In a petition asking the judge to set the record straight, the Hawaii Innocence Project says no one believed Spriestersbach, not even his public defenders.

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