SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Jail blamed "human error" for the mistaken release of federal prison inmate Jeremy Johnson on Monday.
A second review of Johnson's case file showed a writ for him to be released to federal authorities after completing a 30-day sentence for contempt of court that jailers apparently missed.
Third District Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills confined Johnson to jail after he refused to testify in the criminal case against former Utah Attorney General John Swallow last month. Federal agents brought Johnson to Utah from California where he is serving an 11-year sentence for making false statements to a bank in connection with his defunct internet marketing company.
Salt Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Cammie Skogg said Johnson was booked two separate times while being taken back and forth between jail and court. The paperwork didn't make it into his file the second time, she said.
The information was not entered into the jail management system by jail staff and Johnson was released for "time served" without notification to the FBI in Salt Lake City, according to the jail.
Skogg said Tuesday that there were no holds listed in Johnson's file and that he was released because he had met the terms of his sentence. The clerks who processed Johnson likely didn't know the details of his case, so it didn't raise any red flags when his file showed he was due for release, she said.
Johnson spent Monday night close to downtown and turned himself into the U.S. Marshals Office at the federal courthouse at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Mistakenly releasing a jail inmate is rare, occurring less than 1 percent of the time yearly, but one time is too many, Skogg said.
Contributing: Brianna Bodily