Man Spends Five Months In Prison Unaware That His Bail Is Only $2


Aitabdel Salem, a 41-year-old man from Queens, spent five months in New York’s Rikers Island prison, unaware that his bail was set at a mere $2, reports the New York Daily News.

Salem had been jailed on November 21, 2014 and held on $25,000 bail “for attacking an NYPD cop who was arresting him for stealing a coat at a Zara store in the Flatiron District,” according to the Daily News. However, he was ordered to be released seven days later, on November 28, when prosecutors failed to indict him.


That means Salem’s bail was presumably removed, but he was still held due to bail totaling a paltry $2 still being in place that stemmed from two minor charges of tampering and mischief.

According to the Daily News, $1 bails are fairly common:

Judges sometimes set a dollar bail on a defendant’s subsequent charges if they believe the person’s existing bail is sufficient or if the defendant is ineligible for release for another reason, like an immigration hold.


Incredibly, the essentially symbolic bail kept Salem jailed at Rikers Island from November 2014 until April of 2015, with no one informing the inmate of his easily resolvable situation. Salem blames his previous legal counsel and, indeed, it sounds like the entire fiasco was caused by a poor communication between Salem and his lawyers at the time and as a result he was left to rot.

After being released in April, Salem is now back in prison with bail set at $30,000 for missing a court date after his release, though his lawyers claim he never received the relevant summons.


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