Class Claims Lazy L.A. Arrests Wrong People | Courthouse News Service
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Class Claims Lazy L.A. Arrests Wrong People

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Los Angeles and San Bernardino County Sheriff's Departments arrest, re-arrest and incarcerate the wrong people because they refuse to use "readily available information and existing identification systems to accurately identify the subjects of warrants," a class action claims in Federal Court. The class also sued the presiding judge and executive officer of the L.A. Superior Court.

Named plaintiff Santiago Ibarra Rivera says he was wrongfully arrested twice on a warrant issued for someone else, and jailed for more than a month.

After his second arrest he spent a month in jail because L.A. County and its Superior Court "refused to record ... that fact that plaintiff Ibarra had been exonerated as not being the warrant's subject," according to the complaint.

Ibarra says the identification numbers in state and federal databases showed that he was not the subject of the warrant, but L.A. County refused to, or was too incompetent or indifferent to use them.

The ID numbers include "CII numbers" based on fingerprints, from the California Department of Justice; the "rap sheet" based on the CII number; FBI numbers; LA Main numbers; and Livescan numbers.

After his first arrest, the Superior Court acknowledged that Ibarra's fingerprints and identification numbers did not match those of the warrant's real subject, but the warrant database information was never undated to exonerate him, Ibarra says.

After his second arrest he was jailed for a month and hauled into court three times in before the court determined that he was the wrong man.

Ibarra says that if authorities had simply merely checked the identification numbers it would have been clear that he was not the suspect.

"Had L.A. County personnel, including the public defender assigned to represent plaintiff's interest, bothered to utilize the readily available information available from California Department of Justice, plaintiff would have been released much sooner," according to the complaint.

He seeks an injunction and damages for false imprisonment and wrongful arrest.

He is represented by Robert Mann and Donald Cook.

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