Tulare woman claims she spent 3 days in jail for crimes someone else committed

ByJoe Ybarra via KFSN logo
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
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Maria Rodelo can?t shake the memories of May 20th, the day she was pulled over in Tulare and arrested.

TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Tulare woman says she spent three days in jail for crimes she didn't commit. She calls it a wrongful arrest that started with a poorly-timed cellphone call.

Maria Rodelo can't shake the memories of May 20th, the day she was pulled over in Tulare and arrested.

"I was shocked and I thought it was a sick joke," Rodelo said.

She admits, she was on the phone, while driving -- in fact, it's the second time she's been caught but this time was different. She says, the officer put her in handcuffs and took her away in the backseat of a patrol car.

Rodelo's attorney, Neil Gehlawat said, "Placed her under arrest without reading her Miranda rights and told her she had an outstanding felony warrant and misdemeanor warrant."

Inside police headquarters, Rodelo says officers ridiculed her, then took her to jail where she was booked.

"I was treated like a criminal before I even went jail, I felt violated," Rodelo added.

The charges, she says were not clear, the warrants were not hers and she was behind bars for 2 nights and 3 days.

Rodelo said, "It was horrible, humiliating."

The nightmare ended on May 22nd in front of a judge who let her go.

"They kept apologizing to me," Rodelo said, "The public defender who seen me, he was in shock and said Tulare police had no right to arrest me."

Sergeant Andy Garcia says the department is looking into the claim. He says all officers are trained to follow a procedure when making an arrest, which includes; checking names, the date of birth and social security number.

"Based on the allegations that they're posing on the claim, indicates that this possibly was not taken," Garcia said.

At this point there are two claims, one against the city and the other, against the county. If a lawsuit is filed, Sergeant Garcia says there will be an internal investigation.

Still, Rodelo says nothing will take away the memories of what she had to go through.

"What happened to me, it's never gonna go away, it's not gonna disappear," she said.