Man sues Galveston resort and police claiming false arrest on drug charges

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | May 21, 2011

GALVESTON � Santa Fe resident Michael Aldous is suing the city of Galveston, Galveston County, Landry's G.P. Inc. and numerous other individuals and entities over his arrest for alleged cocaine possession.

The lawsuit, filed May 13 in federal court, states authorities took Aldous and his wife into custody on May 20, 2009, after employees of Galveston's San Luis Hotel found a pill bottle and cocaine in a room the newlyweds booked for their wedding celebration.

Aldous claims he is innocent and that the drugs belonged to a hotel employee who mus have come into contact with Aldous' DNA and then handled the drugs with his bare hands.

"[T]here was at no time any probable cause to arrest and prosecute Michael (Aldous) for any crime and he was innocent of the crime(s) alleged," the lawsuit states.

Aldous alleges the San Luis head of security conspired with resort staff and other law enforcement officials to falsely charge him with a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The 26-page complaint lists more than 12 defendants.

According to the suit, Aldous and his bride secured a room on the hotel's 10th floor on May 14, 2009. They hosted a dinner party for family and friends in the room that evening and checked out the following morning.

The suit states that a hotel employee was cleaning the room and discovered a 1-inch square baggie, picked up the object without gloves and placed it on the TV table. The baggie eventually passed hands from hotel security to the Galveston police, the suit states.

The Aldouses were arrested, but allege the investigators practiced measures and techniques aimed at bolstering the false idea that the cocaine was theirs.

Police did not even talk to the plaintiff, his spouse or the guests, according to the suit.

The original petition shows the complainant, a graduate of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law and a former candidate for Santa Fe City Council, took a polygraph examination and three drug tests. The suit states the tests determined that the cocaine in question was not his.

A grand jury found no probable cause to arrest Aldous' wife.

Aldous claims he spent approximately $50,000 fighting the charges for which he was acquitted on May 10. He claims the entire ordeal inflicted "great" mental anguish upon him.

Consequently, he seeks exemplary damages, attorney's fees and a jury trial.

Attorneys Randall L. Kallinen and David W. Hodges of Houston are representing Aldous.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt is presiding over the case.

Case No. 3:11-cv-00228

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