John Smith, Beware (The Real SODDI Defense)

Ouch:

Three police cars pulled into Christina FourHorn's front yard one afternoon just before she was supposed to pick up her daughter at school. The officers had a warrant for her arrest.

"What do you mean robbery?" FourHorn remembers asking the officers. Her only brushes with the law had been a few speeding tickets.

She was locked up in a Colorado jail. They took her clothes and other belongings and handed her an oversize black-and-white striped uniform. She protested for five days, telling jailers the arrest was a mistake. Finally, her husband borrowed enough money to bail her out.

That was $3500. Not the bond amount, the money paid to the bondsman. I’m gonna guess it was ten percent of a thirty five thousand dollar bond. But this wasn’t a case of your run of the mill some-other-dude-did-it (SODDI) defense.

Later, it became clear that FourHorn was right, that Denver police had arrested the wrong woman. Police were searching for Christin Fourhorn, who lived in Oklahoma.

The article details all sorts of reasons this can happen: identity theft, aliases, computer typos. But this one was a doozie:

In Christina FourHorn's case, she was about 100 pounds heavier than the suspect, Christin Fourhorn. Her middle name is Ann, while the suspect's middle name is Blue. She was also seven years older and didn't have a tattoo on her left arm, which the suspect did.

My smart alec title notwithstanding, I suspect that the real problem in this case was that the police/jailers were stuck on the fact that Fourhorn is an unusual surname.

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DA Confidential - March 1, 2010 6:25 AM

Wow, makes me glad we never make mistakes in our jurisdiction. At least, I don't. :)

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