Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
Thank you for the clarification. The circumstances you describe may be sufficient for possible claims of false imprisonment, unnecessary delay in processing or release, wrongful detention and/or unlawful confinement, and violation of civil rights. However, the strength of such claims will depend on your unique circumstances which appear to be rather complex, and is beyond the response that I am permitted to give. Therefore, I would suggest that you consult a civil tort law lawyer who is familiar with civil rights claims and tort law that can provide specific legal advice. I would suggest first contacting the lawyer who wrote the petition for habeas corpus to see if he has any suggestions for recovering some of the money spent on fixing the mistake of parole. This was not your mistake, but you and Thelma had to pay for it. At the very least he should be able to direct you to a lawyer who can help you. If he can’t, the California Bar Association has a referral service for attorneys who will provide an initial consultations at no cost. Cases such as yours are generally taken on a contingency basis so that the lawyer would get paid only if and when you are successful. Generally, these kinds of claims are difficult and, because they involve governmental entities, they are not usually settled. That said, there are certain issues that are common in cases such as yours that you can be aware of when you consult a lawyer. Generally, officials are entitled to what is called "qualified immunity" from being sued when acting in their official capacity and in good faith. Basically, if they are acting in good faith as part of their job, they will be immune. Generally there is no duty on the part of parole to look outside of their own files for information. Meaning where a court has ordered release but the parole documents don't reflect that, parole can rely on their own records and do not have to look further. Unfortunately, that means when communication is not good, something like what happened in your case may occur. An exception to qualified immunity is when there is conduct that amounts to deliberate indifference to a clearly established right. Now, you don't have to be a lawyer to know that liberty in this country is a clearly established right. That is why, when you suggest officials may have known or should have known about the release from parole, and perhaps disregarded it, acted outside their authority and the like, there is a possibility they would be unable to rely on qualified immunity which would be a determination made by a judge. When you do meet with an attorney be sure to mention all the expenses that resulted from the "mistake" including all the money you had to pay to clear up the error and the expenses, your emotional distress, and the stress on you and Thelma, as they are what is termed "consequential damages" - that is damages that flow from the wrong conduct - that would be included in the claim. At the very least perhaps you could recover the "deposits" you mention Thelma lost as a result of the error with parole. I hope the above information is helpful to your situation and I wish you and Thelma the best as you seek recompense. Please ask if there is anything that I wrote that you want clarified, and feel free to ask any follow-up questions.
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