Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal
A Metropolitan Detention Center lieutenant has been indicted for allegedly keeping an inmate locked up for several hours after he was supposed to be released from jail and falsifying public records pertaining to the incident.
Lt. Stephen Perkins – a 20-year employee of the jail and the longtime president of the Bernalillo County Corrections Officer Association – was indicted on charges of false imprisonment and tampering with public records, both fourth-degree felonies, on Nov. 16.
However, Perkins’ attorney said he doesn’t believe his client should have been charged in the first place.
“This is a ridiculous waste of resources,” attorney Sam Bregman said. “I can assure you he won’t be convicted of any crime, because he didn’t commit one.”
Michael Patrick, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office, said that shortly before midnight on Jan. 16, inmate Anthony Hice, 34, was scheduled to be released from jail. Hice had been arrested the previous day on charges of driving while his license was revoked and not having insurance, and a judge determined he should be released on his own recognizance.
However, Patrick said that when corrections officers were loading Hice and a female inmate onto a transport bus, he fell off a step. Patrick said Hice became angry and began arguing with the guards.
“That’s when Lt. Perkins is called,” Patrick said. “He made the decision to bring Hice back to MDC and let him cool off. And that’s where the charge of false imprisonment came from.”
Patrick said that after Hice was taken back into the jail, Perkins told an employee to create a new booking sheet for him. A booking sheet created on Jan. 16 says that Hice “must be assessed by PSU (Psychiatric Segregation Unit) prior to release.”
“Perkins effectively falsely created a booking sheet that appeared to be a valid hold of Mr. Hice, when his original booking sheet noted that Mr. Hice was released on his own recognizance and no longer being held by any court order,” Patrick wrote in an email.
Patrick said Hice was held in jail for about eight hours after he was supposed to be released. An MDC spokeswoman said he “spent approximately one day at MDC following the incident in question.”
The Journal was not able to contact Hice on Monday, and court records show he has failed to attend at least two court hearings since he was released. In court documents filed over the summer, Hice said he was homeless.
Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies began investigating the incident in March, spokeswoman Felicia Maggard said. She said that deputies interviewed other people who were involved and that the case has been turned over to the District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors don’t expect to charge anyone else in the case, Patrick said.
Perkins, 47, is still employed at the jail and is on vacation leave, said Candace Hopkins, an MDC spokeswoman.
He also remains president of the corrections officer association, said the union’s attorney, Shane Youtz.
“The charges as I understand are somewhat ridiculous, and there’s no basis to remove him as president,” Youtz said. “He’s been a great president and an even better corrections officer.”
A bench warrant was issued for Perkins’ arrest on Nov. 26 when he did not appear at his arraignment. However, Bregman said the court had sent notices to an old address and his client had not known about the hearing.
It was reset for Monday, and Perkins pleaded not guilty. He was released on his own recognizance.