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California Man Awarded $55,000 for False Arrest

On October 25, 2002, a California jury awarded $55,000 to a man who was
falsely arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and held in
jail for approximately 4 1/2 days before being released.

Plaintiff Roger Brass was arrested on the morning of April 6, 1997, by Los
Angeles County Sheriff's deputies who mistakenly believed Brass was James
Nichols, for whom there was an arrest warrant. Deputy Thurlo ordered Brass
booked into the jail before a check of his CII number was completed. Thurlo
then went home. When the check was finished at 2:17 p.m., it indicated that
Brass's CII number did not match that of the warrant subject, but the jail
watch commander was never notified. Brass was taken to superior court the
following morning. He was not arraigned or seen by a judge. Three days
later, at 11:00 a.m. on April 9, the court ordered Brass released; it was
another 39 hours before this occurred.

Brass sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and deputy Thurlo
alleging federal and non-federal constitutional violations, negligence, and
false imprisonment.

A federal court dismissed Brass's non-federal claims and he appealed. While
his appeal was pending in the Ninth Circuit, Brass's non-federal claims
went to trial in superior court.

At trial Brass contended that he was denied due process because: (1) the
sheriff's department failed to adhere to a 1988 injunction which prohibited
the booking of warrant subjects until all records searches were completed,
(2) he was not promptly arraigned, and (3) he was not promptly released
after it was ordered by the superior court. Brass further contended that he
was falsely imprisoned from the time the CII check was completed and that
the sheriff's deputies were generally negligent with regard to his liberty

After deliberating for three hours, the jury found for Brass and awarded
him a total of $55,000 ($10,000 on the negligence claim, $10,000 on the
false imprisonment claim, and $35,000 on the constitutional claim).
Brass was represented by Thomas E. Beck of the Los Angeles law firm Thomas
F. Beck & Associates. See: Brass v. County of Los Angeles Sheriff's
Department, Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Case No. TC 012 287.

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Related legal case

Brass v. County of Los Angeles Sheriff's Departmen

no case text.