DETROIT — Oops: The Michigan fugitive wasn’t a fugitive after all.
Officials blamed a lack of information for the arrest of a San Diego woman who spent more than a month in jail before she was released Friday. Authorities had been trying to get her returned to Michigan, where she had escaped from prison in 1977 while serving a sentence for attempting to steal women’s clothes.
Jamie Lewis, known in the 1970s as Judy Hayman, insisted that a judge had sentenced her to time already served when she surrendered in 1982. It’s not clear where she was living at that time.
“If true, none of this information was contained in our file,” Russ Marlan, spokesman at the state Corrections Department, said Monday.
The old court file couldn’t be found, but Wayne County Judge Tim Kenny signed a correction Friday, leading to Lewis’ release.
The judge “accepts the uncontested fact” that Lewis returned to court five years after her escape and was “excused from serving any more time on her old convictions,” Marlan said.
A message seeking comment was left with Lewis’ attorney in San Diego, Lisa Damiani.
Lewis, now 60, escaped from prison after serving eight months of a minimum 18-month sentence.
Information about the 1982 court appearance should have been sent to the Corrections Department by court staff at that time, said Maria Miller, spokeswoman for the Wayne County prosecutor.
Lewis was tracked down in California, partly because Corrections Department staff stuck in the office during a fierce Michigan winter decided to blow the dust off old fugitive files. With the help of FBI fingerprint specialists, authorities found her in San Diego.