We hold no brief for Manchester resident Joshua Fields, a convicted felon who is considered by a judge to be a danger to the public. But that judge, Landya McCafferty of the U.S. District Court, still saw fit to grant the man early release from prison.
Her decision should cause officials of the U.S. federal prison system to do more than shrug their shoulders. In releasing Fields two years early, the judge was blowing the whistle on prison officials who had misclassified Fields as a sex offender. That is a term that is nearly as abhorrent to those behind prison walls as it is to the public.
The trouble is that it wasn’t true. But by being labeled as such, Fields was subjected to all manner of hell — including beatings. Even when he appeared before Judge McCafferty for his release, he sported a bloody eye, bruises, and a broken eye bone.
Prosecutors did not object to Fields’ release but neither they nor federal prison officials would answer our reporter’s questions on the matter, so we don’t know for certain whether anyone is investigating why someone in the system repeatedly told the judge that Fields had been properly classified.
The acting U.S. attorney for New Hampshire ought to be looking into the matter. Perhaps Judge McCafferty will find a means to encourage him to do so.