New Mexico resident Francisco Franco has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against officials in Roosevelt County, New Mexico after he was imprisoned for three weeks without any criminal charges.
On June 14, Roosevelt County Police filed a bench warrant for Francisco, claiming he had violated two conditions of his probation terms. One violation was for a failed drug test during a June 5 screening. The other was for a domestic dispute that police were called to his house over.
In accordance with the bench warrant, police showed up at Franco’s house on July 1 and arrested him. He served a three-week prison sentence, and was released on July 21.
But after being released, Franco checked the court documents from his bench warrant and found that his probation term had ended four months ago, on March 7th. But no one told Franco his probation term had ended, so he kept showing up for routine check-ins and drug screenings.
“Somebody tells him to show up, he shows up,” said Erick Dixon, Franco’s attorney.
As anyone would be, Franco was furious. He’d lost his construction during the three-week prison sentence. He is a single father of a 5-year-old girl.
Franco quickly filed a federal damage claim, which went unanswered. Next, he filed a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Since Franco spent time in prison without criminal charges, Dixon says his time locked up was a violation of his constitutional rights.
“If anybody had even bothered to look at the court file, or even gone online, they would have seen an order was filed,” Dixon said.
People named in Franco’s lawsuit include Roosevelt County Manager Charlene Webb, jail administrator David Casanova and probation officer Tamara Peel. The Roosevelt County Commission is also named.
Source: Albuquerque Journal