Suit says Clark County had wrong guy when it arrested, jailed man

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Courts Reporter

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A local man is suing Clark County for negligence after he was allegedly misidentified as another man — who apparently has the same name — and was arrested and booked into the jail.

William Hall is seeking noneconomic damages in the amount of $30,000, in part, because he missed a rent payment while incarcerated and was unable to respond to an eviction notice causing him to lose his home.

He also suffered fear, stress and embarrassment, among other things, according to a complaint filed Nov. 13 in Clark County Superior Court.

He is being represented by Linda K. Williams with Kafoury & McDougal in Portland. Efforts to reach her Tuesday were unsuccessful.

On Nov. 1, 2014, Hall was booked in the Clark County Jail by Vancouver police. He was misidentified as a different William Hall, a man who has an extensive criminal history and no physical resemblance to him. The Hall who filed the complaint has no criminal history, according to the lawsuit.

Corrections deputies later learned Hall was misidentified, and a deputy told him on the same day he was booked, the complaint states.

However, at his arraignment on Nov. 3, 2014, information provided to the prosecutor and court included criminal history for the wrong Hall — assault and crimes in other states, the complaint said, and the judge set a high bail that Hall could not afford.

He remained in custody until Nov. 5, 2014, when the charges against him were dropped, according to the suit.

Hall’s complaint alleges that the jail failed to accurately identify him, transmitted misinformation to the prosecutor and court, and failed to notify them once the misidentification was discovered.

The complaint does not state on which charges Hall was arrested or whether he appeared in Superior or District Court.

The civil division of the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said it is not familiar with the case. And efforts to reach a spokesperson with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Jail Chief Ric Bishop were unsuccessful Tuesday afternoon.