Child’s attorney may sue

CNJ staff

Jennifer Burrill, attorney for 12-year-old Marcus Lewis of Clovis, put three agencies on notice Friday that she may file a lawsuit for his wrongful arrest and false imprisonment.

Included in her notice is an offer to settle for $100,000 if the matter can be resolved by April 1.

Burrill said Lewis was stopped for walking suspiciously near his home and held overnight in the Curry County Juvenile Detention Center on an outstanding warrant against another juvenile with a similar name. Burrill said officers never checked Lewis’ Social Security number against the different one on the outstanding warrant for the other minor.

She filed her notice — a tort claim — against city police, Curry County and the state Children, Youth and Families Department.

Her notice claims, “The minor child (Lewis) was falsely imprisoned as a result of sloppy police work … that resulted in the violation of the rights of the minor child.

“Further,” the claim states, “there were multiple failures in the juvenile justice system that should have caught the errors in both the Affidavit for Arrest Warrant and Arrest Warrant.”

Burrill said Lewis was scared and traumatized by his arrest and false imprisonment.

Police Chief Steve Sanders apologized to Lewis for the mistake.

All three agencies receiving the claim have policies against commenting on pending litigation.