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$215,000 Settlement in Maryland False Arrest Case

Daniel Miller was paid $215,000 to settle a civil rights action after he was falsely arrested and spent 19 days in jail in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The Associate County Attorney said the settlement did not reflect any wrongdoing.

The case stemmed from a lawn mower that was stolen from a garage. A witness reported seeing a mower on a trailer pulled by a green Jeep Cherokee. The mower's owner told detective John L. Dougans that Daniel Paul Miller had such a vehicle, and he was suspected as the perpetrator. The mower was returned but no arrest was made at the time.

Dougans subsequently named Daniel Anthony Miller instead of Daniel Paul Miller in an arrest warrant. A Daniel Anthony Miller was stopped by the State Patrol for not having a tag on his front bumper, and the arrest warrant came up. After spending 19 days in jail and $4,000 in attorney's fees, he was cleared and released.

Dougans claimed that a computer check on the arrestee matched the warrant's description and the tag number given by the witness. Patrolman Duane Lee claimed that no computer check was performed and the witness, who was never called to verify Miller's identity, stated that he didn’t give Dougans a tag number. It appeared that the Miller believed to be the mower thief was white and 15 years younger, while the Daniel Anthony Miller who was arrested was African-American. No apology was made regarding the wrongful arrest; the county settled the suit for $215,000 in June 2007. See: Miller v. Prince George’s County, U.S.D.C. (D. Md.), Case No. 8:05-cv-002920-RWT.

Source: Washington Post

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Related legal case

Miller v. Prince George’s County