when the FBI get it wrong...

The story

The man the FBI was looking for (another 72 year old Brit) has now been arrested in Las Vegas after a tip-off (from the UK) - probably as a consequence of the media attention given to the detention of Mr. Bond in the UK. It is believed the the perp is also guilty of identity theft, as he was using the name, dob, and passport number of the real Derek Bond.

Representatives of the FBI have made public statements apologising to Mr. Bond, saying “we got the wrong man” (no s*** Sherlock!).

OK, we have identity theft, mistaken identity, but more importantly

IIRC the appropriate quote would be justice delayed is justice denied

Now, the questions:

What would happen in the US if the FBI arrested someone but did not speak to them for 10 days?

What would happen in the US if the FBI arrested the wrong man?

Is there a process for compensation?

Are there any similar cases?

Was this story covered anywhere in the States? (Mr. Bond has no WMD)

What would happen if the police in a foreign country arrested a US citizen, and then released him with an apology?

If compensation is involved, what could Mr. Bond expect? (He was in the RSA on a wine-tasting holiday, so Napa Valley might not be out of the question - the President of the RSA has already invited him for tea if he returns).

On Newsbeat they said the story was only covered by one newspaper in New York and that was on page 17.

If he’s been arrested without a warrant in the U.S., he’s entitled to a probable cause hearing within 48 hours. If he doesn’t get one and can show there was no probable cause, he could have a cause of action for violation of his civil rights.

It depends. He may have a cause of action against the FBI if he can show that his civil rights were violated due to some pattern, practice, or procedure of the bureau, and may have an action against the agent if it was not arguably reasonable for the agent to believe he had probable cause to arrest. Overcoming governmental immunity is difficult; judges don’t want to second guess law enforcement decisions made reasonably and in good faith, even if wrong.

In the U.S. there would be, but probably not here.

In U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez, SCOTUS held that a non-resident alien subjected to an unconstitutional search on foreign soil is not part of “the people” for purposes of the Fourth Amendment. It’s likely that Mr. Bond has no rights he can claim were violated either.

First I’ve heard of it.

Happened to me (sans apology), so I can tell you: nothing. If he was released unharmed after seven days the State Department probably wouldn’t touch it if it was an isolated event. Their country, their laws, generally we don’t get involved.

Compensatory damages for his lost earnings and inconvienience, and maybe punitive damages if it was done maliciously. Unfortunately, however, I don’t think he has a case, at least not in U.S. courts.

The State of Georgia’s new computerized warrant database has all sorts of errors in it. People are being arrested, not* given a phone call, not allowed to contact an attorney, not given hearings within 48 hours, and to top it all off, when the mistake is found, they aren’t even given a ride back home. Recent AJC articles covered this.

(They are usually arrested in a different jurisdiction than the one that supposedly issued the warrant. The “rights” kick in once you are transferred to the right jurisdiction. If it’s a 3 day weekend, you are really stuck.)

Remember, computerized databases and civil rights don’t go together.

Do they get the arrestee to sign a waiver of right to sue before letting him out?

[Heavy sarcasm on]

Well, in fairness to the FBI, there surely couldn’t be more than one person in the world with a name as wildly unusual as “Derek Bond.”

[Heavy sarcasm off]

Surely the main point is that the FBI waited at least TEN DAYS before seeking to interview a 72-year old suspect with heart disease and hypertension.

The wrong person gets arrested now and again. It sucks, but it’s just part of living in a society. And the perp had been using Derek Bond’s identity for nearly twenty years - same passport number, etc.

However, the 10-day hiatus in between arrest and interview is disgusting. This poor old guy had to sleep on a concrete bed with absolutely no contact with the people who were the cause of the arrest. The FBI has publicly admitted culpability. It I hope he takes them to the cleaners.

Bond did have some rather nice things to say about the South African police, and President Mbeki subsequently telephoned him personally to apologize for his ordeal (which I thought was a rather gracious thing to do). I believe Bond is currently reviewing his options vis-a-vis suing the FBI.

See, what the FBI should have done is to classify him as an “enemy combatant”. Then they could have kept him as long as they liked! :rolleyes: