Judge awards record-setting $3.5 million to man wrongfully jailed for 15 days

A Detroit man spent 15 days in jail for a crime he didn't commit. Six years later, a federal judge has ruled in his favor, awarding him $3.5 million.

Marvin Seales arrested on January 18, 2012 and was charged with assault with intent to murder. Police accused him of being Roderick Siner and said he was using a fake ID. For more than two weeks, Seales sat in a Wayne County jail cell as he awaited trial.

On February 1, 2012, Seales appeared for his pre-trial hearing. Only then did the prosecutor notice a glaring error: the man in custody, Seales, was not the man they actually wanted, Sines. 

Seales was working for a food service facility that day in January when several police officers arrived, handcuffed him, and led him outside where they accused him of using aliases and fake ID's. Seales denied he was Siner and maintained his innocence. He was jailed anyway.

According to the lawsuit filed by Geoffrey Fieger's law firm in 2012, police had information about Siner including his mug shot and identification. 

Regardless, police moved forward and handed the case to the prosecuting attorney. On February 1, 2012, Seales was pulled out of his jail cell for a pre-trial hearing. That's when the prosecutor recognized the mug shot didn't match the man in custody.

The charges were dismissed against Seales but that wasn't the end of it. Seales lost his job because of the police mix up and filed a lawsuit against the city of Detroit.

Six years later, a judge ruled in his favor, awarding $3.5 million to Seales. With interest and sanctions, the verdict will exceed $4.5 million, the largest verdict for wrong imprisonment ever in Michigan.

"The facts clearly showed that my client, Marvin Seales was not the person who was named in the criminal warrant.  That person's name was Rodrick Siner who had no relationship or resemblance to Mr. Seales.  Mr. Seales informed the police of the misidentification and the police ignored him while Mr. Seales rotted in a jail cell.  The police could have easily corrected their mistake by simply examining the LIEN computer system."