Detroit tries to revoke $3.5M awarded to man mistakenly arrested

Lawyers for Detroit are asking a judge to reduce a $3.5 million verdict for a man who was arrested in a case of mistaken identity and jailed for two weeks.

Marvin Seales was in custody for two weeks in 2012 before the mistake was cleared up. Detroit police arrested Seales at his job in Warren, accusing him of being the gunman in a drive-by shooting from 2010. The problem was, they got the wrong guy. 

The actual suspect had used the name "Marvin Seals" as an alias. The real Seales pleaded with his jailers and, before that, the arresting officer, to confirm his identity. 

"While he's in cuffs he tells the defendant officer, 'Look at my wallet, check my wallet: you'll see my ID, you'll see my Social Security card, you'll see my credit card, you'll see the Blue Cross cards, you'll see all of those things." said attorney Jim Harrington. "But they laughed at him and said those are all fraudulent."

So Marvin Seales sat in jail waiting to be tried for a crime he did not commit. The truth he shared with anyone who would listen came out during his preliminary exam.

The prosecutor, Shannon Walker, moved to have the case dismissed. Seales sued the City of Detroit and the arresting officer, Thomas Zberkot, in 2012.

Now this case languished as the City went through bankruptcy and its lawyers tried, unsuccessfully, to get it thrown out. The case went to trial in late July and the jury sided with Seales. 

Now the officer's lawyers said $3.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages is "greatly excessive." They note there was no allegation of physical abuse. A hearing planned for Monday with federal Judge Gershwin Drain was postponed due to a snowstorm.

Seales' lawyers say the jury's verdict last summer should stand. They say there was a "callous disregard" for his freedom.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.