Man dies after mistakenly released from Florida Keys jail in clerical error

Paul Clift, 36, found hanged on day of return
Paul Clift, 36, of Key West, was found hanged on March 14, 2024.
Posted at 1:23 PM, Mar 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-23 13:23:22-04

KEY WEST, Fla. — A man mistakenly, who was mistakenly released from a Florida Keys jail and placed back in custody, hanged himself the same day of his return, the sheriff's office said.

Paul Clift, 36, of Key West, was found at Stock Island jail by Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies, who rendered aid on March 14. He was taken to Lower Keys Medical Center on Stock Island and then airlifted to a Miami-Dade County hospital, where he died at 10:49 a.m. Thursday, according to the county's sheriff's office.

Clift, 36, was released on March 12 and returned on March 14.

He was sentenced to six years in prison for non-violent, drug-related crimes, but the Monroe County Sheriff's Office received erroneous information from the clerk's office that he should be released, a spokesman for the agency said.

The clerk's office corrected the error, but not before Clift had already been released, sheriff's spokesman Adam Linhardt said.

"My clerks put the instructions on the wrong line" of a court form, Monroe County Clerk Kevin Madok told WPTV.

Clift was apprehended on Conch Key, Linhardt said.

Madok said the incident has pushed him to accelerate his efforts to adopt electronic court filing.

"I want to go to electronic, so at least we fix that problem," he said.