Saturday, June 09, 2007

Another Mistake

This is a pretty scary story-

A 51-year-old Kissimmee woman was thrown in jail for nine days all because of a case of mistaken identity. She went to the police station to get fingerprinted for a new job and that's when her troubles started.

Maria Carrasquillo moved from Puerto Rico to Central Florida in 1994. She had never been in trouble with the law, until March 2005. That's when she visited Kissimmee police to voluntarily get her fingerprints taken. She needed that done to apply for work as a licensed practical nurse.

It sounds simple enough but don't forget that we're dealing with the highly trained and professional "Only Ones".

Instead of it being a brief visit, Carrasquillo was arrested for an outstanding warrant. A woman in New York City, with the same name, was wanted on drug-related charges.

Well, how could the police possibly know that she wasn't the right person?

Carrasquillo spent nine days in the county jail before someone at the Kissimmee Police Department checked the identity of the New York suspect and realized they didn't match.

It took them nine days to check the identity of the person they'd arrested and locked up.

The lawsuit also accuses the city of having an inadequate system of reviewing its charging affidavits. Eyewitness News spoke with the city of Kissimmee's attorney, Don Smallwood, who only said, "The city defends these cases vigorously."

I'd like to see how they defend locking up an innocent person for more than a week before even bothering to check that they had the right person. And this occurred because she just happened to have the same name as a wanted person. Don't forget too that this event took place in Florida while the actual criminal was wanted in New York- how many people in a country of some 300 million might have the same name? You'd think that one of the first things that police would do is check to make sure they had the right person and not just someone with the right name- that's a pretty low standard of proof for throwing you in jail.

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