False Arrest Of Woman On Identity Theft Charges Leads To Lawsuit

A recent case shows the importance of having a top Michigan criminal defense attorney representing you and how overzealous law enforcement can turn your life upside down.

In Milligan v. United States, a woman was falsely arrested as part of a 24-state round up of fugitives. Nearly 11, 000 people were arrested, including an innocent woman, Paula Milligan. A data-entry clerk responsible for entering the warrant information for processing allowed the database to auto-fill all of the entries, and in the process identified the wrong woman. The woman arrested had had her name in the system solely based on a parking ticket.

If you have been arrested it is important to contact an aggressive Michigan criminal defense attorney immediately to protect your rights and investigate the charges against you. Fighting back right away can help protect your reputation.

Here, based on the inaccurate information in the warrant, a police officer arrived at Milligan’s house and arrested her for forgery and four counts of identity theft. As part of the operation, the marshalls had contacted local media outlets to ride along and report on the operation, agreeing to air the report only after the operation was over. The day after the charges were dropped against Milligan, the news story aired showing footage of her arrest. The story was also on its website.

Based on police error, Milligan filed several lawsuits against the United States and the U.S. Marshals Service, including false arrest, false imprisonment and assault and battery.

Unfortunately far too often in an effort to crack down on crime, law enforcement over steps its bounds and makes mistakes. The rights given to criminal defendants under the Constitution extend to all U.S. citizens. These include such fundamental rights as the right to counsel, the right to due process, the right to a jury trial, the privilege against self-incrimination, and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Not only does the constitution guarantee you certain rights but also law provides that you cannot be held in custody without probable cause.


Here, a careless mistake not only led to the arrest of a woman but also significantly damaged her reputation.

If you are under investigation or have been arrested, it is important to fight back and stand up for your rights. For more information about defendants’ rights and to fight back if you’ve been falsely arrested or accused, contact the top Michigan criminal defense lawyers at Grabel & Associates, P.C. for an immediate consultation.