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David Sosa: Man falsely arrested twice loses lawsuit against Martin County Sheriff's Office

'David Sosa and I were very disappointed in the court’s rulings,' attorney says
David Sosa, falsely arrested twice by Martin County Sheriff's Office
Posted at 10:20 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 08:48:17-05

STUART, Fla. — A Martin County man arrested, not once but twice, because of his name, has lost his lawsuit against the Martin County Sheriff's Office.

A judge dismissed David Sosa's lawsuit arguing false arrest, but now he is appealing the ruling.

For nearly 30 years, a David Sosa from Texas has been on the run for drug-related crimes.

"This guy's older than I am. He's shorter than I am," Martin County's David Sosa told WPTV in 2019.

In 2014, Sosa was pulled over for a traffic violation by a Martin County deputy. Sosa said when the deputy ran his name, the active warrant for the David Sosa in Texas came up. Sosa was arrested, but when the case of mistaken identity was cleared up, he was released after a couple of hours.

Sosa said it happened again in 2018. He was pulled over for a traffic violation, and his name was flagged with the active warrant.

"They (said), 'Texas is looking for you,' and I was like, 'Yeah, I know what this is about,'" Sosa told WPTV.

Despite telling deputies the mistaken identity happened before, he went back to jail. This time, he was stuck there for three days before deputies realized they had the wrong guy.

He hired attorney Randall Kallinen to sue the Martin County Sheriff's Office for false arrest and wanted to make sure this would not keep happening.

A district court judge dismissed the case.

Order granting motion to dismiss lawsuit filed on behalf of David Sosa

"David Sosa and I were very disappointed in the court's rulings," Kallinen said. "We thought for certain that, based upon all of the evidence we had, that he never should have been arrested and that it was the officers' fault and Martin County's fault for not having the right policies in place so innocent people don't get arrested and have to spend time in jail."

The judge ruled that the arrest was reasonable, stating descriptions like a 40-pound weight difference could change over the span of nearly 30 years. In his ruling, the judge wrote that "the officers did not commit any constitutional violations by arresting and subsequently booking [Sosa] at the Martin County jail."

The judge also said the deputies are not required to independently investigate every claim of innocence.

Kallinen has filed an appeal.

"He could once again travel to go to the store, get arrested and then sit in jail," Kallinen said.

The Martin County Sheriff's Office said it cannot comment on the case and outcome because of the ongoing appeal.