Central Florida man Jose Batista spent one week behind bars last month for a crime he adamantly told police he did not commit.
Turns out, he was telling the truth, Florida prosecutors admitted this week — and it’s not the first time this has happened.
Batista, who works as an Uber driver, was arrested May 18 by Orange County sheriff deputies on an open warrant out of Miami-Dade County, according to WFOR-TV.
The warrant, police said, was for aggravated battery and Batista was their man.
However, when he appeared before a judge, Batista explained police had the wrong man. See, there is another man, Marco Batista — who also uses the name Jose — in South Florida with a similar birthdate. That was who committed the battery, Batista alleged.
He was right and was eventually released from police custody.
Katherine Fernandez Rundle, a Miami-Dade County state prosecutor, owned up to the error.
“It is every prosecutor’s responsibility to protect the innocent as much as it is their responsibility to prosecute those who commit crimes. Quashing this old judicial arrest order is the right thing to do,” she said in a statement.
What happens now?
Batista, who initially lost his job and had his car impounded, has regained both his job and car, according to WFOR. He’s just happy the nightmare is over.
"It was a nightmare. Somebody dropped the ball, but I just thank God that I’m out of here,” Batista said.
Unfortunately, Batista said the mix-up has happened twice before, which has him worried about how it will affect his future.
"Maybe I can be driving again and I can get pulled over, I don’t know. I’m scared to drive," he said.
Batista was released because WFOR pressured the state prosecutor's office to begin investigating his arrest and the alleged case of mistaken identity. Batista is very grateful for WFOR's efforts and believes he would still be in jail if his case was not brought to investigator's attention.