Falsely Arrested Woman Told She Should Thank The Police For Realizing Their Error

from the heckuva-job dept

We’ve seen all sorts of stories about identity fraud and how it really is a pretty horrible crime — one where the victims are often left entirely on their own to unravel the resulting mess. However, there are times where things get even more ridiculous. Mitch Wagner points us to a case where a woman who had her identity used by a petty crook/coke addict was picked up by the police, believing she was the scammer, leading to this victim of identity fraud being jailed, strip-searched and de-loused, until she finally convinced police to look at a photo of the actual crook. Even then, they kept her in jail for an additional 24-hours.

And, now, the police responsible have added insult to injury.

After the woman sued the police over this, she was told that that she should thank the police for realizing their mistake. I’m not joking:

Instead of suing Seminole, Shields should thank its employees for “doing a great job,” discovering the error and turning their findings over to a judge, who ordered her release April 25, 2002, the day after her arrest, [Defense attorney Tom] Poulton said.

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Comments on “Falsely Arrested Woman Told She Should Thank The Police For Realizing Their Error”

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Cipher-0 says:

My job...

… is to install fingerprint scanning machines. These scan prints, package them up and send them off to the FBI. In less than two hours they have proof-positive ID if someone’s in the system based on those prints.

The local criminal courts are starting to demand the police provide the responses from the FBI before they’ll talk about charges on a suspect – and if the PD doesn’t have them, forces them to get such.

I’ll bet the PD spends more on discovery for the lawsuit than this system costs – around US$40,000.

Cipher-0 says:

Re: Re: My job...

… imagine how difficult it’ll be to convince them to double-check a false positive in a ‘proof-positive’ system…

True enough – it’s not a panacea, but it also provides proof-positive ID on who in the PD needs their personal ass kicked and sued; the system puts their ID all over the fingerprint record, and (at least in the state where I do installs) the officer is required to check the responses.

interval (profile) says:

Re: My job...

My wife works a Sheriff’s clerk for the county, part of her job is finger print processing and data base look-ups, and her mother is a shift super. Part of her (my mother-in-law) job is being sent out on trips to other jurisdictions (sometimes even international) to stay with the current finger printing technology or demonstrate the county’s finger print technology to other jurisdictions. The impression I get from her is that there is still a lot of work to get all American jurisdictions working with finger print technology at the same level and getting them to share information at the same level. Apparently some backwaters still use index cards filed in a shoebox, others don’t use the same nomenclature, or a whole host of weird issues that you wouldn’t think would come up in a supposedly technologically advanced nation. Its kinda funny to hear her talk about people she has to work with in other jurisdictions who don’t seem to have a clue what she’s talking about with regard to finger printing (this is LA county, CA, I can only assume we’re on the cutting edge or something.)

R K says:

Date of arrest

The article says she was released in April 25, 2002. I know justice moves slowly but a pre-trial hearing 8 1/2 years after the incident?

And once she was ordered release still handcuffing her until she was processed out 3+ hours later – if the Sheriff’s office ackmnowledged the mistake, the Judge ordered her release, is she a flight risk? “Poulton said it takes several hours for jail employees to run through all their checks and process out an inmate. Shields, he said, was treated no differently than anyone else.” Under the circumstances, she certainly should have been treated differetly!

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

“Shields also contends that she should have been set free as soon as Seminole County Judge Carmine Bravo ordered her release around 2 p.m. She wasn’t. She was handcuffed, led from the courtroom and held for another three to 3 1/2 hours.

Poulton said it takes several hours for jail employees to run through all their checks and process out an inmate. Shields, he said, was treated no differently than anyone else.”

Sounds to me like that’s the jail employee’s problem. Don’t see why their byzantine procedures should result in keeping someone in custody. For all it’s flaws, when you are set free by a judge in France, you walk out without handcuffs or anything.

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