Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
An immate uses a mirror to look outside his cell at the Los Angeles Men's Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles, 19 May 2004.
An L.A. Times investigation has found that in 2011 nearly 200 people were wrongfully detained in L.A. County jails, and over the last five years nearly 1,500 were held due to mistakes by law and order officials and the courts. Incomplete records, misidentification of fingerprints and identity theft are behind many of these mistaken detentions, and it can take days or weeks to sort out the truth while the innocent are stuck in jail. For those caught in this situation there is little they can do once they get finally out because state and federal laws protect law enforcement agencies from lawsuits as long as there was a valid warrant and a reasonable belief that they were arresting the right person. We hear the facts behind the story from one reporter who broke the news.
Jack Leonard, reporter, Los Angeles Times
Steve Whitmore, senior media advisor, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department