Monday, June 9, a single mother who was wrongfully arrested two different times by Florida officers announced that she will be suing that sheriff's office. Back in January, the 28-year-old mother of two was wrongfully arrested twice and spent nearly a month in jail because she was mistakenly accused of committing a crime at a place she had never been to. Why? She shares the same first and last name as the real suspect. Only their middle names differ (well, their ages and heights are different too).
The wrongfully arrested single mom's initials are ANC, while those of the suspect are AOC, but there is an age and height gap between the two women. It took a Florida sheriff's office almost a month to realize their slipup. This shared name and inattentive police work landed this innocent single mom with a felony charge of grand theft, which could have led to a sentence of up to 30 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Those charges were dropped when she was placed under wrongful arrest again, this time on a charge of
fraud, another felony offense. The sheriff's office has apologized.
According to the mom, she was fired and her home was lost while she was jailed. She has announced her intent to sue the Clay County Sheriff's Office for emotional distress over these two arrests that have caused such severe and undeserved consequences in her and her family's lives.
Does this name mix-up sound familiar? This is the same sheriff's office that arrested the wrong teen on sex offense charges due to another name mix-up.
While officers work hard to make the streets safer, they are not perfect. Innocent people can and do find themselves facing criminal charges and penalties. Unfortunately, innocence is not its own, automatic defense. When errors are committed in the justice system, it can take diligence to uncover these mistakes. If you or someone you know has been arrested, make sure you assert your legal rights and protections. Call Thomas & Paulk, P.A. to get a powerful Tampa criminal defense attorney on your side today!