Man claims he served extra year in prison

Garner Gramlich accuses the New Mexico Department of Corrections of incarcerating him 344 days beyond his sentence

Joshua Kellogg

FARMINGTON — A San Juan County man has filed a civil complaint claiming he was wrongfully incarcerated in a New Mexico prison for nearly a year after his sentence ended.

Garner Gramlich, 55, filed the complaint against the New Mexico Department of Corrections seeking damages in district court on Friday. He alleges he was held for an additional 344 days beyond his nine-year prison sentence, according to the complaint.

He served his sentence at the Otero County Prison Facility in Chaparral, according to court documents.

Eric Morrow, Gramlich's attorney, said the department of corrections mistakenly or negligently held him for an additional year.

Ashley Espinoza, state correction department spokeswoman, said the department does not comment on pending ligation.

Morrow said he didn't know why or how Gramlich was held beyond his prison term. He added that it was possible that Gramlich just "slipped through the cracks."

"I've never seen anyone incarcerated this long when they should have been out," Morrow said.

Gramlich entered a guilty plea to a second-degree criminal sexual penetration charge on July 5, 2005, according to court records. He was sentenced on Aug. 10, 2005, with credit for 235 days of time served.

The New Mexico Department of Public Safety's Sex Offender Registry website lists Gramlich as a Bloomfield resident. Morrow said he was released from prison on Sept. 10, 2014.

The website also lists a conviction for Gramlich on an attempt to commit criminal sexual penetration charge in 2002 in Jefferson County, Ore.

Gramlich's civil complaint includes six claims, maintaining that he was falsely imprisoned, that the department of corrections violated state law and that it intentionally inflicted emotional stress upon him.

Gramlich is seeking an award of damages based upon the six claims to be determined at trial, according to court documents.

"He's definitely entitled to something for being wrongfully incarcerated for so long," Morrow said.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.