Innocent black Philly P.hD student spent six days in jail after warrant blunder wrongly ID’d her

Innocent black Philly P.hD student spent six days in jail after warrant blunder wrongly ID’d her as Texas shoplifter – even though she’s never been to Lone Star State

  • Julie Hudson, 31, from Philadelphia spent almost a week in prison after being falsely arrested for a crime in Texas due to a case of mistaken identity
  • Incident began with 2022 shoplifting case at a sports store in Webster, Texas 
  • Police identified the suspect as a woman named Julie Hudson
  • Surveillance photo of the suspect looked similar to social media images of the Ph.D. student who also had the same name
  • She was unaware she had been mistaken for the shoplifting suspect but found she was repeatedly being denied jobs and had a criminal record
  • When visiting a police station to find out why, she was arrested and jailed

An innocent black woman from Philadelphia spent almost a week in jail after being wrongly arrested for a crime committed in Texas due to a case of mistaken identity. 

The incident began with a shoplifting case at a sports store in Webster, Texas near Houston in May 2022. Police identified the suspect as a woman named Julie Hudson.

By sheer bad luck, a surveillance photo of the suspect appeared to look similar to social media images of a 31-year-old Ph.D. student from Philadelphia,  also named Julie Hudson.

The Philadelphia Hudson, who was unaware she had been mistaken for the shoplifting suspect, soon found that she was repeatedly being denied jobs and even had a criminal record in her name. 

Julie Hudson, 31, from Philadelphia spent almost a week in prison after being wrongly arrested for a crime in Texas due to a case of mistaken identity

Julie Hudson, 31, from Philadelphia spent almost a week in prison after being wrongly arrested for a crime in Texas due to a case of mistaken identity

Police said this surveillance photo of the suspect seen in Webster, Texas looked similar to social media images of the Ph.D. student Hudson, who also had the same name

Police said this surveillance photo of the suspect seen in Webster, Texas looked similar to social media images of the Ph.D. student Hudson, who also had the same name

When she visited a Philadelphia police station to find out why, she was arrested and placed in custody on January 5th for six days. 

‘When you know that you didn’t do anything wrong, it makes you feel crazy,’ Hudson told NBC 10. 

‘Everybody is sure that you did something, that you’re a criminal, but you know that that’s not who you are,’ she added.

‘I want to find out what happened. I want to find out how this happened and I want it to not happen to anyone else ever again.’ 

'When you know that you didn't do anything wrong, it makes you feel crazy,' Hudson said. 'Everybody is sure that you did something, that you're a criminal, but you know that that's not who you are.'

‘When you know that you didn’t do anything wrong, it makes you feel crazy,’ Hudson said. ‘Everybody is sure that you did something, that you’re a criminal, but you know that that’s not who you are.’

Her family reached out to law enforcement in both Texas and Philadelphia to try and get her released. 

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Texas filed a motion to dismiss the charges against her, citing insufficient evidence.

‘We accept charges based on the sworn evidence presented to us by law enforcement,’ a spokesperson for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office wrote.

‘Tuesday, Webster Police notified the court of the error. We dismissed the case within five minutes and immediately contacted Philadelphia Police to release our hold on Ms. Hudson.’

Hudson is pictured leaving jail having been in custody for six days from January 5

Hudson is pictured leaving jail having been in custody for six days from January 5

Hudson can be seen hugging a family member following her release on January 11

Hudson can be seen hugging a family member following her release on January 11

Philadelphia police have also released a statement explaining their actions.  

‘Philadelphia police became aware of the warrant being dismissed on 1/11/23 at approximately 5om after receiving a media inquiry,’ a Philadelphia police spokesperson wrote. 

‘At that time, we immediately requested that Ms. Hudson be released from custody and are actively working with the Philadelphia Department of Prisons to process her release in as expeditious a manner as possible.’

Hudson and her family are now considering taking legal action and are demanding answers to understand how the mistake happened – as well as prevent it happening to anyone else. 

Hudson's family are considering taking legal action following her wrongful imprisonment

Hudson’s family are considering taking legal action following her wrongful imprisonment 

‘Julie just so happened to have a family that was able to get the information together, if we needed to get the funds together,’ Hudson’s sister, Charon Hudson, said to NBC News. ‘So many people out there that don’t have that. And that’s what struck a chord in me.

‘If it had not been for the media and the press, nobody would have taken the time to do what they did today,’ Charon said. 

While Hudson was finally released late Wednesday night, her family told NBC10 they still need to get the mistake taken off her record.

‘If it had not been for the media and the press, nobody would have taken the time to do what they did today,’ Hudson’s sister, Charon Hudson, said.

Last week, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner released a statement on Hudson’s ordeal.

‘I am not aware of any efforts by Texas authorities to contact my office directly about the misidentification of Ms. Hudson, which led to her arrest by Philadelphia Police on January 6 based on a fugitive warrant. Once the District Attorney’s Office independently became aware that Webster Police had confirmed to local media that they had wrongly sought Ms. Hudson for arrest, we mobilized quickly to make sure Ms. Hudson was released from custody as soon as possible.

‘Julie Hudson is a Philadelphia resident who has no criminal record and is pursuing a Ph.D. What happened to her should not have happened, and her family deserves a great deal of credit for successfully advocating for her freedom with the media in Houston and in Philadelphia.’ 

Krasner offered an apology to Hudson and her family.

‘As an institution, law enforcement owes you an apology,’ Krasner said. ‘We ought to be able to do better than to rely on relatives and rely on the media to be a notification process to get you out of jail six days later without your meds.

‘At least we might have picked up the phone and said, “You did what?! Let me get this straight. You used social media to make an identification? Why else do you think this Philadelphian is committing retail thefts in Texas?”‘

Philly Mayor Jim Kenney also chimed in releasing a statement on Monday: 

‘We are dismayed by the ordeal that she and her family went through due to an erroneous warrant from another jurisdiction, and thankful that she is now home,’ he wrote.

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