Skip to comments.Innocent man arrested, jailed 10 days for having same name as drug dealer
Posted on 06/05/2014 7:42:23 AM PDT by Altariel
CHESTERTON, IN An innocent man was arrested in an early morning raid and jailed for 10 days because he had the same first and last name as a drug suspect. The ordeal caused him to lose his job, rack up bills, and nearly get evicted from his home.
Steven M. Thompson, a service technician at Arcelor-Mittal Steel, received an early morning visit from the Porter County Drug Task Force (PCDTF) on on May 5th. He was taken from his teenage daughter in handcuffs.
Mr. Thompson had done nothing wrong. He assumed the misunderstanding would be easily cleared up once in police custody. Except it didnt work out that way.
Despite collecting no evidence at Thompsons home, he was charged with two Class B felonies for dealing pills and heroin. Each felony carries a 6-20 year prison sentence.
Accused of being a drug dealer, he was locked up in the Porter County Jail. Except he isnt actually a drug dealer.
Days went by and he was not being released. With such difficulty in correcting the error, he began to think that going to prison might be a real possibility.
Finally, on the 10th day of confinement, he was able to prove his innocence with the help of attorney Bob Harper.
Although Thompsons identity matched matched the signed warrant down to the date of birth and middle initial the data on the warrant had been incorrectly obtained. The intended suspect was Steven P. Thompson, who is three years younger and the same race, the Northwest Indiana Gazette confirmed.
Mr. Thompsons false arrest caused him to rack up bills, face threats of eviction from his home, and lose his job after 6 years of employment.
Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel oversees the Porter County Drug Task Force (PCDTF), and dropped charges after it was evident that the wrong man had been arrested.
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This case clearly illustrates the point that anyone innocent or guilty can be the target of governments eager efforts to imprison Americans; the police state is not only felt by criminals. Those who turn a blind eye toward overzealous policing fail to recognize how easy it is to be subjected to a false accusation, a wrongful arrest, or a downright corrupt prosecution effort.
Mr. Thompson is lucky in the sense that the ordeal didnt go further than it did. However, he still was fired from his job, lost 10 days of his life, lost his good name, and suffered numerous personal inconveniences. And this represents just one of countless botched arrests and injustices that have been caused by the War on Drugs.
Time for a lawsuit. They least his accusers could do is get his job back, pay his bills and clear his name, unfortunately, that will not happen. I’d still sue them for a hell of a lot of money.
Prudent he complied with the illegal arrest, thus avoiding possible tasing, beating, or death.
This will NEVER be removed from His record. This Man is screwed for life.
STUPID F’ING Pigs!!!
Suing the government is not easy. These rascals should go to jail, but that will never happen.
He had to prove his innocence despite having a different birthdate, middle name, and no evidence.
Three felonies a day.
He’s guilty of SOMETHING.
Actually he did get his job back after the head of the drug task force called the employer and explained what happened.
If nothing else, he is guilty of stupid.
I was arrested for non payment of child support once and don’t have any kids. It was a clerical error and I didn’t start screeching like a 1960s hippie about the “pigs”.
You forgot to mention the uniform.
Seriously, if you think anyone in the criminal justice system gives a rat's ass about how long this took, you're very sadly mistaken.
If you're arrested on a Friday before a long weekend holiday, you'd be lucky to even get a bond hearing by the following Tuesday.
oy, you are correct
A holiday weekend is three days. 3 < 10. Try again.
You’d see this sort of thing happen dozens of times in old 1930s/40s b-movies. Not exactly something new under the sun. But you would think with all the advanced technology and communication of our modern era, such mistakes would be almost impossible nowadays.
Actually, no. Judges routinely go into jails over long weekends (sometimes over weekends) to conduct bail hearings. It’s both out of respect for the defendant’s constitutional rights, and to help ameliorate overcrowding.
John Smiths are in serious trouble.
I'm highly unlikely to be arrested, mistaken for someone with the same name.
The article is from a cop-hating website. Gee, I wonder what slant they are going to put on this?
The jurisdiction I was in had a 24-hour limit for adjudication before a magistrate, even if they had to come in on Christmas. It was similar in most other jurisdictions that I was involved with.
i am no friend of the government but the fact is the differences in name and such were not found out for 10 days. Not like they held him after they found out?
Still the state and the DA’s office need to make restitution to this man. His old job should be hreatened with a suit as well if they don’t take him back. Legal fees. And a juicy payout for anguish.
The guy is lucky it was only ten days. Usually they'll let you rot in jail for at least two weeks before another hearing to give you a chance to get a lawyer and have him review the case, assuming you can't make bond.
The system is designed to force you to cop a plea, even if you are innocent, simply because it's easier for the "justice" system that way.
You're lucky you have a 24 hour requirement for that: many jurisdictions do not.
In Chicago, some guy was released after two years of continuances without ever having gone to trial.
If this does turn out to be a case of gross judicial abuse/misconduct/incompetence, I hope the guy makes a million from a lawsuit. But I'm not taking the screed of a cop-hating website as firm, unbiased fact.
I would say that part of the delay was deliberate in effort to cover up their bureaucratic bungling. You can be sure a ‘sanitation’ of what happened, a search for a fall guy and more than likely a full investigation Mr. Thompson was done in an effort to find some other charges they could hold him on anything from back child support to a missed court date 10 years ago for a traffic ticket.
ummmm it took them 10 days to figure out the guys name? 10 days when they could have opened in wallet.
More likely it took them about 4 hours to figure out they had the wrong guy and 9 1/2 days to come up with an excuse. Of course the lazy factor may have raised the 4 hours a bit.
The incompetents need to be fired.
Time for more than a lawsuit. Time to drop sovereign immunity and shield laws for public sector employees. As more and more govt functions migrate out of the realm of clerical workers (read Democrat politicians and voters) and into data aggregation, we’ll see how excited the low information types are about Big Govt.
I'm not a "cop hater," but I don't harbor illusions about the police: they are- at best - a necessary evil, and much of our talk about "constitutional rights" means little to the many I've known who have been arrested and beaten simply for "contempt of cop."
In our ‘justice’ system you only have rights if you have a lawyer and lots of money.
I was in court one Monday morning back in 1972 or so to deal with a traffic ticket. The case before mine involved a black man who had been awakened and arrested in his home at 6:30am the Saturday before. Alexandria Va. police had a warrant and took him to jail where he sat till Monday. When the judge asked him if he was “John James Jones” (don’t remember the exact name) he said no your honor, I am John Thomas Jones. The judge looked at the warrant, then at him. The judge said I see you’re not 6’2” (he was short), you aren’t 250lbs (he was skinny), and you aren’t 60 years old (he was in his 20s). The judge then signed a paper and gave it to him and said, “Here, you’ll need this when you sue the city.”
The real problem is, How did the bad data get in the system? What steps have been taken to prevent it from happening again?
it is very easy to go from mistake to “slap” arrest. (ala slap suits)
ALL this cases should be subject to attorney disbarment hearings on the prosecutors.
it is too easy to nifong.
one second is too much time.
citizens are not guilty until proven guilty.
We have the best justice money can buy.
So when they entered his finger prints into IAFIS nothing came back that would exclude him as a suspect or even a criminal?
Sohhhh he should change his name to something like Pocahontas?
In any event, the guy is owed some serious damages. Initially, it's not intentional, it's a negligence case, like a car accident involving a city employee. If they held him after they should have figured it out, then it's also a false arrest.
“Time for a lawsuit”
Was thinking the same thing. The city, his job, you name it.
How could they make a mistake like this after they got him to the jail and saw his face? Not like they don’t keep mugshots here in the year 2014. Know what I mean?
Guilty until proven innocent. I remember as a kid being taught that “innocent until proven guilty” was another reason to be proud of this country, but just like everything else, that is no longer the case.
This line fried me! How about not hiring retards to work in Government? 10 days to figure out they had the wrong guy? Really? What about the retards kicking in the wrong door because they can't read the numbers on the house. Or shooting a dog on the inside of house when answering a burglar alarm. Look in the window, the dog is NOT barking. SO duh! No one is in the house. But by all means lets kick the door down and kill a dog or person who is trying to defend their property.
Not accidental or a consequence of stupidity.
So long as people brush it off as idiocy, the problem won’t be resolved.
Why do they shoot dogs?
They get away with it.
Entering an innocent man’s house?
They get away with it.
Throwing a man in jail without making sure they had the right man?
They get away with it.
How do we get them to stop? I am at a loss.
Get rid of qualified immunity. Make each and every officer personally liable, for starters.
Other solutions likely also come to mind.
Which means we have to get rid of the lawyers!
Not lawyers - first you need to get rid of STATISTS who wrote and passed these Liberty eroding no-knock and SWAT raid drug search laws.
Then once you’ve run them out and repealed all the old guard statist drug search laws, enact new laws governing searches that make police individually + criminally liable for negligence, and make them fiscally accountable to their employer (ie: Joe Taxpayer) when they cost him millions in their latest lawsuit for killing Spot and causing 1st degree burns to your toddler.
In other words, elect Libertarians, or Extremely Liberty Minded Republicans. Heck, there’s even a few Democrats have had enough of this mess to act on it...
Sounds like he needs to end up owning him a police department of his very own.