Man Sues After 2 Months in Jail on Bogus Rape Charge

He says crime lab analysts mislabeled his DNA sample
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2016 1:11 PM CST
Man Sues After 2 Months in Jail on Bogus Rape Charge
Stock image   (Getty Images/pattonmania)

"Everyone kept telling me I was going to get life," the Washington Post quotes Shawnnon Hale as saying. "I was thinking that my life was over.” The 26-year-old Denver man was jailed for two months for a rape he didn't commit. Now he's suing two city crime lab analysts for mislabeling his DNA sample, the Denver Post reports. The victim met one of Hale's friends at a bar on July 4, 2014, and took their group back to her apartment's roof to watch the fireworks. Five months later, Hale was arrested in front of his grandmother and charged with felony rape. Police said his DNA was found on the victim.

Two months later, charges were dropped and Hale was released, with the Denver DA's office blaming a "clerical error." A source tells KUSA that the numbers on two DNA samples got switched. Hale's lawsuit, filed Monday, claims that crime lab analysts accidentally labeled his DNA taken from a cigarette as coming from the victim's rape kit. The lawsuit also implies race played a part in Hale's ordeal. Multiple people told police the victim was acting "lovey dovey" with a white man at the party, and the lawsuit states surveillance footage even shows her leave the party with a white man. Regardless, police decided to focus on "a black male." Both Hale and the friend who first met the woman are black. Hale is seeking damages and an apology. (A lawsuit claims Stanford had a sexual predator on its hands and did nothing.)

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