Wrongly Arrested Woman Sues

Wrongly Arrested Woman Sues

A Denver woman was pulled out her husband’s car while nursing her baby and wrongly arrested on misdemeanor charges when she was mistaken for the wrong woman. She is suing the law enforcement officials and officers involved.

Mercedes Archuleta, 46, was strip searched at the Jefferson County Jail even though officials had known they had the wrong woman by that point, the lawsuit claimed.

“Our client has described these events as the worst day of her life,” said Timothy Macdonald, the lawyer who is handling the case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. “You’d hate to have any of it happen to you. But it obviously can happen to people who are entirely and completely innocent.”

The Account

According to the lawsuit, Archuleta’s husband was pulled over in a routine traffic stop on June 12, 2005. When State Trooper Shayne Butler came up to the car, he began to question Archuleta in a “rude and hostile manner.” He asked the couple for their licenses.

When the Trooper checked out the licenses and returned to the car, he pulled Archuleta out as she breastfed her 5-month-old without allowing her to close her blouse first. He continued to ignore Archuleta’s request to close her blouse as he forced her against the side of the car and handcuffed her.
When she was taken to jail, she was strip-searched even after they had realized they had the wrong woman, according to the ACLU.

During the strip search, deputies laughed, and when Archuleta began lactating, a male deputy threw her a maxi-pad, according to the complaint.

“I know you’re innocent, hon, but there is nothing that we can do about it because it’s the weekend,” Archuleta quotes one jail worker, J.L. Mandelko as saying.

Archuleta was forced to stay in the jail cell until her husband posted the $1,500 bail.

After the incident, Archuleta had a judge issue a “finding of innocence,” thus clearing her name
legally. Archuleta filed the lawsuit to hold all law enforcement deputies and officials who were involved accountable for their actions, said Mark Silverstein, ACLU legal director.

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