San Francisco
U.S. District Court

U.S. Marshals “neglect to notice” prisoner’s arrival for six weeks

An accused drug dealer languished in prison for more than six weeks before seeing a judge because the U.S. Marshals Service “neglected to notice” he had arrived in their custody at Santa Rita Jail.

Defendant Ivan Diaz’ unorthodox arrival in the Northern District of California was the culmination of a series of mistakes and oversights which also saw him wrongly labelled a fugitive from justice by San Francisco federal officials, even though he was already in federal custody at the time, a move which condemned him to be transported double-chained and then locked up for 23 hours a day.

“In looking at these situations, all of the information suggests these were due to a lack of training and preparation by an individual deputy who was assigned to both airlifts and did not make the appropriate notifications once these individuals arrived,” explained Chief Deputy US Marshal Marc Kolc in an email to attorneys and court officials on May 9, 2023.

The problem – which also affected another inmate being transported to the district – came to light in defense submissions made in advance of a sentencing hearing. It appeared to have involved prisoners who had made an initial appearance in another district before being brought to San Francisco.

Diaz appeared on Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley who, somewhat unsentimentally in the circumstances, handed him a 30 month term of imprisonment. This was the term recommended by prosecutors, while the defense pressed for a ‘time served’ sentence.

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