Posts Tagged ‘John Hall’

Navy vet sues city over info on criminal record

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Here is an article published by Mr. John Hall with the El Paso Times:

Navy vet sues city over info on criminal record

Posted: 12/14/2010 09:43:50 AM MST

The city of El Paso faces a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that alleges the Police Department mishandled records and personal information of a man who could not get jobs as a result.

According to the suit filed in district court last week, disabled Navy veteran John Shelby is suing the city for $7.5 million, alleging that he has lost or been denied several jobs that required background checks because the crimes of another man using his name as an alias were incorrectly attributed to him and placed on his criminal record.

The city attorney’s office declined to comment Monday, citing a standing policy not to discuss pending legal matters.

According to the suit, Shelby was arrested in 1991 on suspicion of criminal trespassing, which was dismissed.

The suit alleges that Jason Newton was arrested twice in 1997, once for robbery and a second time for burglary of a vehicle and evading arrest. The suit says that both times. Newton identified himself as John Shelby.

On both occasions, the El Paso Police Department released Newton despite the fact that he was wanted in connection with an attempted murder in Mc Kinney, Texas, the suit alleges. Newton is now serving a life sentence for his part in that crime, the suit says.

Shelby’s personal information, including his Social Security number and place of birth, was filed on the arrest records made under Newton’s alias of John Shelby.

Shelby’s attorney, Stephen Casey, maintains that instead of actually verifying Newton’s


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identity, the police imported information from Shelby’s 1991 arrest.

Due to these mistakes, Casey argues that Newton’s criminal record was essentially attributed to Shelby and, as a result, Shelby has failed a series of background checks since 1997, making him virtually unemployable.

Shelby has made several attempts to clear his record over the years and was eventually able to get Newton’s criminal history expunged from his record in 2009.

“He’s basically had to be a pizza delivery driver or work in a seedy bar for the last de cade or more,” Casey said. “This has been the focus of his life, trying to get this corrected.”

The suit charges that Shelby’s privacy was violated and that he was defamed by Police Department records.

John Hall may be reached at jhall@elpasotimes.com; 546-6371.

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