Maricopa County Superior Court Clerk Accidentally Causes Murder Suspect to Walk Free


Authorities say that an error made by a Maricopa County court clerk caused the early release of a man about to be on trial for murder.

Albert Sermeno, a 23-year-old who was serving time at the Maricopa County jail for auto theft, was released back into society June 19th after finishing his sentence.

Unfortunately, Sermeno is also the suspect in the 2006 murder of a 47-year-old man, and is facing trial for first-degree murder.

A Superior Court judge gave instructions to the Department of Corrections not to release Sermeno. But the DOC literally didn't get the memo.

"Despite the office's best efforts to generate over 2,000 minute entries per day, protocol was not completed in one of two of the defendant's cases where the court issued a ruling on Sept. 22, 2008," says Aaron Nash, spokesman for the Maricopa County Clerk of the Court.

A notification that would have alerted everyone that Sermeno was not to be released was misplaced, and left off of his sentencing documents by a court clerk.

Despite his release in June, authorities didn't even know Sermeno was gone until Tuesday when his lawyer alerted the court that he was accidentally released.

Needless to say, a manhunt is now under way.

Which raises an interesting question: Superior Court got to be the only entity left on the planet that still relies on paper records? 



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James King
Contact: James King