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Mississippi Woman Awarded $75,000 for Wrongful Incarceration Due to Court Clerk Error

On October 19, 2005, a federal jury in Mississippi awarded Michelle Hobbs $75,000 after she was wrongfully detained for 4 hours based on an arrest warrant mistakenly issued by a court clerk.

Hobbs's initial arrest occurred in November 2003 in Horn Lake, Mississippi after she was cited for disturbing the peace in a dispute with a neighbor. She appeared in Horn Lake City Court on November 18th with her attorneys, Phillip A. Stroud and James D. Harper of Southaven, only to have her case passed as inactive and continued to a later date. One week later, Hobbs was arrested on a bench warrant, which was issued after a clerk mistakenly assumed Hobbs had not appeared at the November 18th hearing. Hobbs spent four hours in a Horn Lake jail before the blunder was rectified.

Citing four similar mistakes over a 20-month period, Hobbs alleged her civil rights were violated by Horn Lake's "policy of incompetence." Following the $75,000 judgment for the Plaintiff, the City has adopted a “double-check” system to guard against similar mistakes in the future. See: Hobbs v. City of Horn Lake, USDC, N.D. Miss., No. 2:04-269.

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Related legal case

Hobbs v. City of Horn Lake

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