SAN ANDREAS (CBS13) – The sheriff in Calaveras County recently let an inmate out of jail so he could attend his sister’s wedding.
Edward Pereira was supposed to be locked up at Calaveras County Jail for five years. But what allowed him to be let out for a couple of hours was a heartfelt letter written by his sister.
Nothing was going to keep Pereira from his sister’s wedding, not even time in the slammer.
“I have kind of a heart, I guess,” said Calaveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz.
Kuntz was touched when he read the letter from Pereira’s sister, explaining a wedding-day promise.
“When her father died, her brother promised her to walk her down the aisle,” said Kuntz.
It was not an easy promise to fulfill, seeing a sister make lifelong vows in the middle of a five-year sentence on a drug and gun conviction.
So Periera RSVP’d with plus two – two armed guards escorting him to the wedding.
“He had strict rules. He couldn’t indulge in alcohol. He had to be in eye shot of the correctional officers at all times,” said Kuntz.
This wasn’t the first time Kuntz allowed inmates out. Two others were allowed to attend funerals, but it turns out that Kuntz didn’t have the authority. The law says unless it’s an emergency, the sheriff needs a court order. Without one, it’s technically an inmate escape.
“I didn’t have that discretion I thought I had,” said Kuntz.
This story ends with another letter, this time from Periera thanking the sheriff for allowing him to fulfill his promise.
Kuntz says he has reviewed his policies and from now on, unless it’s an emergency, he won’t let any inmate out unless he has a court order.
The Periera family has offered to reimburse the sheriff’s department for the use of the prison guards.