Lawsuit: Sheriff falsely imprisoned two men after not-guilty verdict
Two men have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging the Washington County Sheriff's Office detained them without cause after they were found not guilty of attempted murder.
The suit stems from a shooting on Jan. 6, 2014, in Hillsboro, according to the lawsuit. Francisco Rodriguez Jr. was interviewed by Hillsboro police and arrested on Jan. 8, according to the lawsuit, and Adolfo Mandujano-Marin was arrested on Jan. 29. Both were charged with attempted murder and held for 19 months under supervision of the Washington County Sherrif.
The shooting was a retaliation involving two groups of multiple men, said Lt. Henry Reimann, a Hillsboro Police spokesperson. Five men pleaded guilty to various sentences, including one count of attempted murder and several counts of first-degree assault and rioting, according to court documents.
A sixth man went to trial and was found guilty of assault and weapons charges.
But Manduajano-Marin and Rodriguez Jr. were found not guilty by a jury on Aug. 5, 2015.
According to the lawsuit, Mandujano-Marin asked the judge to immediately release him and "allow him to walk out of the courtroom and courthouse with his family and friends as a free man," but the request was denied.
The Sheriff's Office took the two back into custody for processing after the acquittal, which "violated and infringed upon the Plaintiffs' civil rights to be free from illegal seizure and detention," a constitutional protection, the lawsuit states.
"The Washington County Jail releases acquitted persons within a reasonable time frame, as directed by Sheriff's Office policy and United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals case law," said Deputy Jeff Talbot, Washington County's public information officer. "There is an administrative process that must take place before someone is released from custody, and staff completes that as quickly as possible."
According to the lawsuit, the men were released about 90 minutes after acquittal — well below the timeframe outlined in policy and case law, said Talbot.
It is Washington County policy to release acquitted prisoners in under four hours, said Talbot, and case law sets a precedent for a longer time.
In the U.S. 9th Circuit Court case, Brass v. County of Los Angeles, it was determined a 39-hour delay in releasing the plaintiff was reasonable and did not violate his constitutional rights.
The plaintiffs Mandujano-Marin and Rodriguez Jr. are asking that Washington County allow individuals to walk free after a not-guilty verdict.
In addition, the plaintiffs are seeking compensation for illegal seizure, negligence and false imprisonment.
Hillsboro Tribune reporter John William Howard contributed to this story.