Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2014

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Mix-ups put man in jail, leave him out in the cold

Richard Ryan and his wife , Regina, were set to appear for their court date. They traveled to the Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas, ready to answer to charges that he had passed a bad check at a Mesquite casino and then resisted arrest.

But court officials gave the Mesquite man directions to the wrong courtroom - twice, Regina Ryan said - delaying Ryan enough that by the time he figured out where to go, he had missed his July 11 appearance. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

That's when Ryan's nightmare began.

Ryan, an unemployed construction worker already out on bail, went back to Goodfellas Bail Bonds in Las Vegas on Wednesday - where officials turned Ryan in to the Clark County Detention Center.

Because of a computer glitch, Ryan, 38, fell off the map.

For the past five nights, from last Wednesday through Monday, Ryan has been kept in one of the jail's large holding cells. He hasn't had access to a bed or blankets, a change of clothes or even a shower. Having to sleep on the cold floor, he said , he's developed sores on his arms and legs, according to his wife.

"He's calling me up, almost in tears because of the conditions," said Regina Ryan, a stay-at-home mom with a 6-month-old baby. She said that until now, her husband had a clear criminal record; a quick computer search appears to back up that assertion.

Metro Capt. Herb Baker confirmed much of her story. According to Baker, Ryan was booked into the jail on Wednesday afternoon. Within hours, he was moved into room Z-11, the older North Tower's large holding tank. He hasn't moved since.

The jail's general policy is to hold inmates in holding tanks for no more than two days, Baker said. Last summer, when crisis-level jail crowding was at its worst, inmates were held in tanks for up to twice that time before being moved.

"Typically, our desire is to have them out of booking and into a cell within 48 hours," said Baker, who said crowding is still critical.

He attributed Ryan's case to a glitch in a new jail computer system. Ryan's name was not accessible by computer, making it difficult for jailers to track him.

Here's the good news: Baker said the jail is rectifying the situation. Ryan is slated to see a nurse, and to move to an area of the jail with a bed, before Monday evening, he said.

"Oh, that's good . I'm so glad," Regina Ryan said when she heard . "That's a long time to go without anything."

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