Man jailed for selling found iPhone moved to jail's mental ward

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ByVic Lee KGO logo
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Man jailed for selling an iPhone moved to a mental ward
An 18-year-old man, who was jailed for selling an iPhone on Craigslist, was moved to a ward for mentally ill inmates.

DUBLIN, Calif. (KGO) -- The lawyer of a young man sentenced for selling an iPhone he found says his client has been stuck in "hell" for almost two weeks. By that he means, Param Sharma ended up in a psych ward instead of a regular jail cell.

Eighteen-year old Param Sharma was convicted Aug. 18 of a charge related selling an iPhone he found on Craigslist.

His lawyer Andrew Shalaby says the charge was a misdemeanor and rarely used: failure to make a reasonable effort to find the owner of the phone.

The judge sentenced Sharma to 90 days at the Santa Rita Jail. That's when things went south for Sharma. He somehow ended up in the psychiatric ward.

"He's in block F, according to the Sgt. here, the worst of the worst in the section of a psych ward," Shalaby said.

Already, his lawyer says Sharma's been attacked.

"Somebody tried to kill him and I was really, really upset," Shalaby said.

The judge said he didn't sentence Sharma to a psych ward. He sentenced him to jail.

Worse yet, when Shalaby went back to court to ask that his client be moved to a regular jail cell, he found that all of the records in the case were gone.

The judge confirmed for the record on Aug. 27 that the file had indeed disappeared.

Without the files, the judge said there was nothing he could do and Shalaby said the sheriff's office, which administers the jail, told him the courts had to authorize the move.

Finally late Friday, without any word why, jailers told Shalaby that Sharma would be moved to a regular cell. Then the court's administrative staff told ABC7 News they had suddenly found the missing file.

They said the District Attorney's office had it the whole time.