Man says San Jacinto County arrested wrong man due to name mixup

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Aug. 21, 2012, 7:53am

HOUSTON - A Polk County man has filed suit against San Jacinto County over an arrest earlier this year he believes was "unlawful."

Recent court documents filed Aug. 10 in the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division show the defendant took

Thomas Lynn Helm filed suit on Aug. 10 in the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. He claims he was taken into custody on April 27 on charges of child endangerment and possession of a controlled substance. Helm claims he did not commit the offenses.

According to the original petition, the plaintiff was incarcerated in the San Jacinto County Jail on Feb. 20, the supposed date of the crimes.

Helm was released from the jail but he was re-arrested "because of the indictments obtained by San Jacinto County officials on or about Feb. 20, 2012."

He states he "made it clear" to the officials that he could not have committed the events in question as he was in jail, but he "was nevertheless re-arrested and made to spend three days in jail over charges for crimes which he could not possibly have committed."

San Jacinto County released Helm on April 30 with an apology for his "inconvenience," the suit states. The plaintiff was then indicted by a grand jury for the supposedly false charges a week later.

Helm maintains someone with "a similar, though not identical name" was the alleged perpetrator.

Consequently, he sues for "loss of liberty, damage to reputation, severe mental anguish, severe emotional distress, mental pain and suffering, and lost wages, including benefits."

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Alex A. Castetter with Stuckey, Garrigan & Castetter Law Offices in Nacogdoches is representing the plaintiff.

Case No. 4:12-cv-2410

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