06 April 2008

Denver Cops Arrest Wrong Person Again

This time the innocent person arrested by Denver police (whose life was seriously screwed up as a result) didn't even have the same name as the suspect, just the same name as one of the suspect's aliases.

Denver police, district attorney, public defender, internal affairs and court authorities, have failed to explain numerous irregularities in the case including a failure to note obvious indicators of a mistaken identity like differing physical appearance and marks, failure to provide defense counsel and failure to bring the arrested individual promptly before a judge. This is beginning to fit a pattern of multiple case of this type.

Mayor Hickenlooper, Mitch Morrisey, and the public defender's office all owe the people of Denver some answers and some solutions. The victims in these cases are owed apologies and compensation. The ACLU, once again, deserves credit for making an effort to bring attention to the problem and for trying to solve it.

This kind of pattern of mistakes is inexcusable.


Anonymous said...

Exactly how is the ACLU "trying to solve" this problem? Neither your post nor the article supports that claim.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

The article notes that the ACLU represents several of the victims of this practice.

Given ACLU standard operating proceedure, their demands are probably two-fold:

(1) Compensation;
(2) A consent decree to change criminal justice practices.

The later for example, might require that proceedures and protocols be in place with the criminal defense assignment office for such cases, in the jail to insurance that people are promptly brought before a judge, and that there is a checklist to match arrested persons against descriptions and to not make arrests merely based on a name match alone.

Both put pressure in place to make changes happen, rather than the status quo of simply ignoring the problem and not taking any action to prevent it from recurring.

Anonymous said...

But you're simply assuming that ACLU is doing these things; the article doesn't say so. From the article, the ACLU is doing nothing to actually change the status quo.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

In the blogosphere, as opposed to academic writing or court room presentations, it is not necessary to footnote everything. I know how the ACLU of Colorado has handled similar cases in the past, and I am familiar with the organization and with the particular individual who handles its legal work in cases like these. For example, it recently pressed a similar case in Jefferson County.

So, while I am assuming the ACLU is doing these things, this is a safe assumption.