He Wants Pay for Overtime in County Jail
Someone forgot to set Donald E. Watkins free when his two-year sentence in Los Angeles County Jail came to an end in 1983. In fact, Watkins spent another year and a day behind bars.
He sued, and the county counsel’s office said Thursday that it has recommended a $75,000 settlement for Watkins, 45, of Redondo Beach.
The county Claims Board will consider the recommendation Thursday, Senior Assistant County Counsel Peter Krichman said.
Watkins, a convicted arsonist, was due to be released Oct. 16, 1983, but was not actually freed by the county Sheriff’s Department until Oct. 17, 1984.
“It was a clerical error,” Assistant County Counsel Michael H. Dougherty said.
Watkins could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Donald L. O’Kula, who was hired after Watkins’ release, said his client tried unsuccessfully to notify authorities of his overdetainment.
O’Kula said that the prisoner told two different deputies that his release date had been overlooked. O’Kula said Watkins told him that at one point a deputy threatened him if Watkins did not stop complaining. The Sheriff’s Department had no comment on the case.