Florida cops arrest wrong woman... twice

Ashley Nicole Chiasson is shown in this handout photo by Clay County, Florida, Sheriff's Office...

Ashley Nicole Chiasson is shown in this handout photo by Clay County, Florida, Sheriff's Office released on June 11, 2014. The Louisiana woman spent five weeks in a northern Florida jail after being wrongly arrested - twice. REUTERS/Clay County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters

Letitia Stein

, Last Updated: 6:52 PM ET

TAMPA, Fla. - A Louisiana woman spent five weeks in a northern Florida jail after being wrongly arrested - twice.

Ashley Nicole Chiasson, a 28-year-old single mother, was mistaken for a woman with the same first and last name who was wanted by local authorities in Clay County, near Jacksonville, Florida, for financial crimes.

She is three years younger and at least five inches shorter than the woman that authorities sought, attorney Andrew Bonderud said in a letter to the Clay County Sheriff's Office this week announcing intent to sue. His client also has a different middle name.

"This is not mere negligence," Bonderud told Reuters on Wednesday, adding that authorities had the information needed to distinguish the two women. "This is recklessness."

Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler said in a statement that detectives took "shortcuts" in the identification process.

"The result was the wrong person was accused of crimes she didn't commit," he said, pledging to adopt new policies to ensure there is not another incident.

Chiasson was first arrested last year near New Orleans. She was extradited in January to Clay County where she spent four weeks in jail before authorities apparently realized they had the wrong person, her attorney said.

She was arrested a second time last month when, during a court hearing related to her first arrest, she was arrested for a different crime, again involving the other woman, Bonderud said. She spent another week in jail.

All charges against her were dropped late last week, sheriff's officials said.

 


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