Local News

Selma Man Still Paying For Crime Due To Web Site Error

Posted August 23, 2002

— A Johnston County man said he is still paying for a misdemeanor he committed several years ago.

According to the North Carolina Department of Correction Web site, Ruben Guiterrez is serving 84 years probation. The problem is, he was only sentenced to one year of probation.

Guiterrez said the incorrect information is causing him lots of problems, and said others could possibly be affected.

"I looked at it as unbelievable, ridiculous. I was outraged. The punishment didn't fit the crime," he said.

Eight years ago, Guiterrez was charged with DWI the night before his college graduation. Ruben paid the fine and served one year probation.

The Department of Correction Web site shows Guiterrez's probation is 84 years, 10 months, 16 days -- for a DWI.

"You can go right over to the library and look it up. It's the first thing you see," Guiterrez said. "It's unreal."

"What it appears to be is some bad data on our old computer system, and when it was converted over to the new system, the bad data just came with it," said Pamela Walker, of the Department of Correction.

So how many other people are in the same situation?

"If I knew the answer to that question, we'd be working on correcting those as well," Walker said.

Ruben said he has had a hard time finding a job. He said who would want to hire someone who is on probation for 84 years, 10 months and 16 days?

"If I go look for a job or if they do a background check on me, I have this 84 years, 10 months and 16 days that I can't do anything," he said.

"I'm sorry if there have been any inaccuracies. I really am," Walker said.

Ruben only hopes it is not a mistake he will be paying for for the next 84 years, 10 months and 16 days.

The Department of Correction said Ruben's information is being corrected.

Anyone who has committed a crime in North Carolina, even a misdemeanor, will likely be on the Department of Correction Web site. The information stays there indefinitely.

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