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Bexar County sued for arresting wrong man 2X as child “molesterer”

Greg Harman
gharman@sacurrent.com

The first time Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputies wrenched the cuffs on Jose Luna Torres was bad enough. It was 2006 when they showed up at his West Harding Street home and booked him on charges of indecency with a child. Only they had the wrong address and the wrong Torres.

Yet that mistake didn’t keep them from returning two years later to arrest him again on the same charge, even though their arrest warrant still bore a Hollenbeck street address. Other clues they had the wrong man included Torres’ middle name (ie. not “Tejada”) and his driver’s license number.

This time the 60-year-old retiree suffered a stroke while in custody, a medical event that went undiagnosed and untreated, resulting in slurred speech and disorientation, according to a lawsuit filed earlier this year in federal court.

The suit names a slew of law enforcement — from the Sheriff’s Department to the Bexar County Jail, DA’s Office, Bexar County, and the “Unnamed Officers.” For it’s part, the DA’s office has claimed “immunity” from prosecution; Bexar County has yet to file a response.

The suit doesn’t name a desired dollar figure to help make things right, but it does state Torres’ two false arrests have “caused extraordinary personal damages, from the shame and embarrassment of being handcuffed and hauled away in front of neighbors and arrested as a child molesterer [sik].”

Torres couldn’t be reached at his home earlier this week. His attorney, Christa Samaniego, failed to return repeated calls for comment.

Go figure that Torres, twice burned by the system, has refused to have his case heard and decided by a magistrate judge. Instead, he has demanded a true trial by a jury of his peers. If a settlement isn’t reached before next April’s trial date, he’ll get his chance.

Posted by gharman on 8/6/2010 11:34:56 AM
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