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$271,000 in Awards Stemming From FBI Harassment Arrest

Former U.S. Marine Julian C. Lee, 30, was pulled over by San Diego Sheriff Deputies on his way to the supermarket, and he was ordered out of the car at gunpoint and arrested. He was arrested on an outstanding criminal warrant out of Dade County, Fla., for burglary.

The warrant was actually for Julian’s brother, Robert Q. Lee, who had assumed Julian’s identity when caught committing the crime. After his May 4, 2000, arrest, Julian spent 4 days in jail before the mistaken identity was cleared.

Julian’s lawsuit, however, reveals there really was no mistaken identity. FBI agent Jake Gregory spoke to Julian by telephone and agents showed up at his house a month before his arrest. Julian told them to quit harassing him about his brother’s whereabouts and hung up the phone on Gregory.

Later that day, Gregory took a warrant that described Lee by name, race, birth date, and social security number to the San Diego Sheriff’s Office, advising them a fugitive was living within their confines. After Julian’s arrest, Gregory questioned Julian about his brother’s whereabouts. When Julian said he did not know where his brother was hiding, Gregory told him, “Have a nice trip to Florida.”

After his release, Julian sued the FBI in federal court and San Diego County and deputies Marco Garma and John Maryon for wrongful imprisonment. A state jury awarded Julian $81,000 in June 2002. Prior to trial in May, 2006, the FBI settled for $190,000. See: Lee v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, USDC, S.D. CA., Case No: 01CV0739WQH.

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Related legal case

Lee v. Federal Bureau of Investigation