A Manatee county teenager was accidentally released from jail on Wednesday after a clerical error. It took five days before anyone noticed the mistake, but thankfully the teen is back in custody. 8 On Your Side went directly to the Clerk of Circuit Court looking for answers.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office says 16-year-old Wesley Blanc was being held in jail on two charges of second-degree attempted murder. He was arrested back in September for the first shooting and charged in December for the second shooting.
R.B. "Chips" Shore, the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court, says one of the charges was recently dropped. But on Friday an employee at the Clerk’s office inadvertently notified the jail that both charges were dropped and Blanc could be released. So the jail let him go.
Clerk of Circuit Court General Counsel Angel Colonneso said, "It's human error, we had the same name, same charges, two different case numbers, two different forms with the same information, just a different case number and she happened to grab the wrong form.
Shore said the court clerk quickly realized the error and contacted the jail, but Blanc was gone.
“Immediately when she realized her error she did get with the judge and notified him and it was corrected,” said Colonneso.
The Sheriff’s Office says the Bradenton Police Department was able to quickly find him and arrest him. Blanc is now back in custody in the jail.
"It's an unfortunate event and we do take this seriously,” said Colonneso.
The Clerk’s office stresses that this was an isolated incident and officials plan to take steps to make sure this doesn't happen again.
"We're reviewing the process to see how we can prevent human error in the future on something like this,” said Colonneso.
She also added that the clerk who made the mistake could be reprimanded.
The clerk's office says this is extremely rare and there could be some changes in store to prevent this from happening again.
Most of the work is done over the computer so the clerk of court said they may look at programs that can check for these sorts of mistakes.