Mentally Ill Phoenix Man Arrested Twice in 24 Hours For Failing to Register as a Sex Offender

As if we needed another anecdote about how Arizona fails its mentally ill residents, we bring you the story of James Copeland, a mentally ill convicted sex offender who was arrested twice in 24 hours for failing to register as a sex offender.

Copeland, who's homeless, was arrested on Sunday morning after police found him sleeping in the hallway at an apartment building at 1616 West Adams Street in Phoenix.

According to court records obtained by New Times, a resident called 9-1-1 about 8 a.m. Sunday to report that a black man was sleeping in the hallway.

Police arrived and found Copeland, who told them he knows what trespassing is, but didn't realize he wasn't allowed to sleep in the hallway, which is closed to the public. When police asked him whether he thought sleeping in the hallway counted as trespassing, Copeland responded "it might."

The officer then ran a background check on Copeland and found out that he's a sex offender who was released from prison in October. The officer then asked Copeland if he was a sex offender. He answered "yes, they said I am."

Copeland told the officer that when he was released from prison, he'd provided the address of the overflow shelter at the Central Arizona Shelter Services facility in the 1200 block of West Madison Street in Phoenix as his address for the state's sex offender registry.

However, the last address listed for Copeland on the sex offender registry was the prison in Florence where he'd served more than two years as an inmate.

Copeland was booked into jail on one count each of failure to register as a sex offender and trespassing.

About 24 hours after his arrest Sunday, Copeland was back on the streets -- and he was arrested again.

Court records show that police found Copeland "disoriented" and walking in and out of traffic near 300 East Earl Drive in Phoenix.

Copeland told police he was a sex offender and that he hadn't re-registered with the state because he'd been living at the homeless shelter.

Once again, Copeland was arrested. He was again booked on one count of failure to register as a sex offender.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >