Released from jail by mistake, man faces escape charge

Mark Hayward, The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester
·1 min read

Apr. 13—A man who was accidentally released from Valley Street jail faces a felony escape charge after he ignored a judge's order to return to jail, according to a recent indictment.

A Hillsborough County grand jury indicted Devin Leonard, 24, on a felony escape charge. According to the indictment, the jail, which is owned and operated by Hillsborough County, released Leonard due to "administrative error."

"Who wouldn't walk out the open door?" said Rusty Chadwick, Leonard's lawyer. "Being indicted for escape when the jail lets you out is almost a legal fiction."

He said Leonard is due to turn himself in at the jail in the near future to resume his sentence.

The indictment said Leonard left the jail even though he knew he should not have been released. During a Feb. 23 hearing, Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Charles Temple ordered Leonard to return to jail, according to the indictment.

All court hearings at that point were done via internet video links, so Leonard would have joined the court hearing via telephone or internet link but not in person.

The indictment said he was released about Feb. 16. That was about seven days after Temple sentenced Leonard to two consecutive jail sentences. Chadwick suspects the jail released him after he had served only one of the two sentences.

Leonard's legal address is listed as Tonawanda, N.Y., a suburb of Buffalo. Litchfield police brought the domestic-assault related charges against Leonard.