ID errors put hundreds in L.A. County jails - latimes.com
ID errors put hundreds in L.A. County jails
Wrongful incarcerations totaled 1,480 in the last five years, a Times inquiry finds.
By Robert Faturechi and Jack Leonard, Los Angeles Times
December 25, 2011
Hundreds of people have been wrongly imprisoned inside the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department jails in recent years, with some spending weeks behind bars before authorities realized those arrested were mistaken for wanted criminals, a Times investigation has found.
The wrongful incarcerations occurred more than 1,480 times in the last five years. They were the result of a variety of factors, including officials' overlooking fingerprint evidence and working off incomplete records.
The errors are so common that in some years people were jailed because of mistaken identity an average of once a day.
Many of those wrongly held inside the county's lockups had the same names as criminals or had their identities stolen — problems that took days or weeks for authorities to sort out....
In one case, a mechanic held for nine days in 1989 on a warrant meant for someone else was detained again 20 years later on the same warrant. He was jailed for more than a month the second time before the error was discovered.