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Man sues over mistaken identity detention

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A restaurant owner from Illinois filed a federal lawsuit this week after a case of mistaken identity led to a three-day detention in a Lake County jail in April 2007.

Jose G. Gonzalez is suing Lake County, Ind., the county board of commissioners, Sheriff Roy Dominguez, jail warden Bennie Freeman, and various other unknown police officers and jail employees for his unlawful detention. Gonzalez, an Illinois resident, was driving in Lake County when he was pulled over for a traffic violation. After running his name, the police officer discovered a "hit" for another Jose Gonzalez with the same birthday who was wanted in Georgia. Despite his claims he wasn't the same person they wanted and the fact the Illinois Gonzalez looked nothing like the photograph of the wanted man, police took Gonzalez to the Lake County jail.

While in jail, Gonzalez's father tried to get him released, but was told by jail officials that he couldn't do anything and that Gonzalez was going to be extradited to Georgia in a few weeks. After three days in jail, Gonzalez was released without access to his car, cell phone, wallet, credit cards, or money. He wasn't allowed to use a phone and had to walk nearly 10 miles to his restaurant in Lake County. Nearly a month later, Gonzalez was detained again by police after running a check on his car and the same "hit" coming up about the Georgia Gonzalez.

In Jose Guadalupe Gonzalez v. Lake County, Ind., et al., No. 2:09-CV-091, Gonzalez is suing for multiple federal and state constitutional violations, including false imprisonment, detention and confinement, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and unlawful discrimination. He's asking for a jury trial and $300,000 in actual, general, and compensatory damages, including lost income for his business while he was in jail, and punitive damages of $1 million.

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  1. I will be filing a lawsuit in Tippecanoe County for so many violations in a case we became involved in, including failure to contact through mail, Violation of 4th Amendment rights, Violation of Civil Rights, and so on. Even the Indiana Ombudsmen Bureau found violations and I have now received the report and they are demanding further training in Tippecanoe County. I am going to make sure they follow through!!!

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  3. I thought the purpose of the criminal justice center was to consolidate all the criminal services and get them out of downtown to clean up the place. Why in the HELL are the civil courts moving? What a burden to all the downtown law firms. Now we all get to work downtown, but then have to get in a car and COMMUTE to court? Who approved this idiocy?

  4. I drive through the neighborhood whenever I go to the City-County Building or the Federal Courthouse. The surrounding streets are all two way with only two lanes of traffic, and traffic is very slow during rush hour. I hope that enough money has been allocated to allow for improvement of the surrounding streets.

  5. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

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