Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Two million dollar settlement over wrongful arrest...

From the title linked CNN article:

PORTLAND, Oregon (CNN) -- An Oregon lawyer wrongly arrested and accused of involvement in the 2004 Madrid train bombings has settled a lawsuit against the U.S. government for $2 million, attorneys told CNN on Wednesday.

Brandon Mayfield was arrested in Portland, Oregon, on a material witness warrant in May 2004, less than two months after the train bombings.

The settlement was confirmed by both sides. It was reached Tuesday during a conference with a federal judge, attorneys said.

The FBI identified Mayfield's fingerprint on a blue plastic bag containing detonators found in a van used by the bombers. However, the FBI's fingerprint identification was wrong and Mayfield was released several days later.

Flashing back to 2004 when Mayfield was arrested:

Brandon Mayfield was taken into custody Thursday by FBI agents, who also searched his home in the Portland suburb of Aloha.

It was the first known arrest in the United States with connections to the March 11 terrorist attacks in Madrid that killed 191 people and injured 2,000 others.

Mayfield, 37, was arrested on a material witness warrant and has not been charged with any crime, according to a senior law enforcement official in Washington D.C., speaking on condition of anonymity. A material witness warrant allows the government to hold people suspected of having direct knowledge about a crime or to allow time for further investigation into the witness.

Mayfield's fingerprints were found on materials related to the Madrid bombings (search), said a second senior law enforcement official, also speaking on condition of anonymity.

Then days later this from the FBI:

Upon review it was determined that the FBI identification was based on an image of substandard quality, which was particularly problematic because of the remarkable number of points of similarity between Mr. Mayfield's prints and the print details in the images submitted to the FBI.

The FBI apologizes to Mr. Mayfield and his family for the hardships that this matter has caused.

Two million dollars later and an additional apology, I have to wonder how money makes up for that. It's not going to punish those responsible since they don't have to pay the settlement. It just seems ironic that men who have been wrongly imprisoned years, sometimes decades are lucky to get an apology let alone a settlement. I can't help but think of those like Danny Brown who have not been so fortunate when it comes to having their names cleared...


Me4Prez said...

I would let the FBI arrest me and keep me for a few days for a couple million dollars. Of course, not know in advance that is how it would play out, I probably wouldn't enjoy it as much

Lisa Renee said...

Thank you! I was thinking the same thing but I didn't want people to think I was crazy.


Hooda Thunkit said...

Or, maybe, they could rearrest him later if better evidence is uncovered.

They didn't say that they had no other reason to suspect him than the fingerprint(s).

Maybe he was involved, but they don't have enough evidence to prove it..., yet.