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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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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