• Woman arrested by mistake, left to clear criminal record

    By: Brittney Johnson

    Updated:

    SALISBURY, N.C. - A North Carolina family is pushing for answers and change after their daughter was arrested by mistake then forced to pay to clear her record.

    [Wrongfully jailed man wins $3.5 million: 'I kept saying, it's not me']

    Eyewitness News anchor Brittney Johnson learned there is a state law that should protect people who are wrongfully arrested, and she questioned lawmakers about why some innocent people are falling through the cracks.

    Taylor Boan's mother told Channel 9 anchor Brittney Johnson that Taylor's life turned upside down in minutes an hour after she showed up for her shift at a Salisbury Waffle House in March.

    "The cops showed up and arrested her, took her outside. It was in front of the windows so the customers can see. They put her in handcuffs and arrested her," Elizabeth Boan said.

    The police report shows Taylor Boan, who was 19 at the time, was arrested on the job and accused of stealing $100 dollars the month before.

    [9 Investigates mistaken identity after teen wrongly accused]

    "My child is in jail. Is she OK? Is she scared? What is going on with her? That's a horrible feeling for a parent," said Elizabeth Boan.

    She says her daughter made it clear she didn't take the money.

    "She would not have done this," said Elizabeth Boan.

    [Man freed from prison after finding new suspect – who looks just like him]

    The following week, store managers called then sent a letter, saying it was a mistake.

    The letter read, in part, "Ms. Boan was wholly innocent of the charges. She did not take the $100 bill and agents of Waffle House simply made a mistake."

    "For somebody's life to be so severely damaged and messed up over one false word of somebody," said Elizabeth Boan.

    The company dropped the charge and even offered Taylor her job back, but her family says the damage was done. Months later, as of mid-October, the arrest was still on her record.

    The case was dismissed but public documents detailing her arrest, first court appearance and bond information are still available to the public at the courthouse. And her mugshot still pops up online.

    Her family is outraged that it could take up to six months and more than $800 to clear her record.

    "I feel like the justice system should say, automatically your record should be clean now," Boan said.

    But like thousands of others, they've had to fight for it. Elizabeth Boan told Eyewitness News they tried for weeks to get Waffle House to compensate them for legal expenses. Then, they contacted Channel 9.

    "The day I talked to you, you called them. Within hours, it was already on the roll. Within a week it was done," Boan told Johnson.

    "I'm so thankful 'cause we may still be waiting," she said.

    Taylor can't comment on the situation due to a legal agreement in the case. But, her mother says she can now afford to pay for the process to finally get her name and record cleared.

    Attorney Christopher A. Connelly says this type of dilemma is not uncommon. He files expunctions for clients who've been wrongly arrested at least once a week.

    The process doesn't require an attorney, but Connelly says it's a lot of paperwork and a mistake could delay your results.

    "A lot of people are denied jobs or places to live because they have a case that is still out there," said Connelly.

    [Man wrongly convicted of murder walks free after three decades]

    Channel 9 discovered there is a state law that's supposed to protect people arrested by mistake. Senate Bill 233 was passed and signed into law in 2015.

    It calls for automatic expunctions for people with charges dismissed due to identity fraud or mistaken identity, which is defined, in part, as someone arrested due to misidentification or information provided to law enforcement.

    [Exonerated Charlotte man who served 25 years in prison sues city, investigators]

    State Senator Floyd McKissick Jr. wrote the law and says it should have covered Taylor.

    That is precisely what it was designed to cure," McKissick said.

    "Do you think its possible that cases are falling through the cracks?" Johnson asked.

    "I think its entirely possible some cases are falling through the cracks, either because prosecutors are not understanding the scope of the law that was passed or because defense attorneys are not utilizing it as a tool," McKissick said.

    McKissick says more education is needed for prosecutors and court officials. After her daughter's nightmare, Elizabeth Boan couldn't agree more.

    [City reaches $9.5 million settlement with exonerated Charlotte man]

    "Don't ever think it can't happen to you because she didn't do anything and it happened to her," she said.

    We reached out to the Rowan County District Attorney about Taylor's case and we are waiting to hear back.

    Her mother says her expunction request was processed and finalized Tuesday.

    [Man tries to clear name after child sex charges dropped]

    There are free resources to help people who fit the criteria for an expunction but can't afford an attorney.

    To learn more about Legal Aid's free clinic, click here.

    A North Carolina family is pushing for answers and change after their daughter was arrested by mistake then forced to pay to clear her record.

    [Wrongfully jailed man wins $3.5 million: 'I kept saying, it's not me']

    Eyewitness News anchor Brittney Johnson learned there is a state law that should protect people who are wrongfully arrested, and she questioned lawmakers about why some innocent people are falling through the cracks.

    Taylor Boan's mother told Channel 9 anchor Brittney Johnson that Taylor's life turned upside down in minutes an hour after she showed up for her shift at a Salisbury Waffle House in March.

    "The cops showed up and arrested her, took her outside. It was in front of the windows so the customers can see. They put her in handcuffs and arrested her," Elizabeth Boan said.

    The police report shows Taylor Boan, who was 19 at the time, was arrested on the job and accused of stealing $100 dollars the month before.

    [9 Investigates mistaken identity after teen wrongly accused]

    "My child is in jail. Is she OK? Is she scared? What is going on with her? That's a horrible feeling for a parent," said Elizabeth Boan.

    She says her daughter made it clear she didn't take the money.

    "She would not have done this," said Elizabeth Boan.

    [Man freed from prison after finding new suspect – who looks just like him]

    The following week, store managers called then sent a letter, saying it was a mistake.

    The letter read, in part, "Ms. Boan was wholly innocent of the charges. She did not take the $100 bill and agents of Waffle House simply made a mistake."

    "For somebody's life to be so severely damaged and messed up over one false word of somebody," said Elizabeth Boan.

    The company dropped the charge and even offered Taylor her job back, but her family says the damage was done. Months later, as of mid-October, the arrest was still on her record.

    The case was dismissed but public documents detailing her arrest, first court appearance and bond information are still available to the public at the courthouse. And her mugshot still pops up online.

    Her family is outraged that it could take up to six months and more than $800 to clear her record.

     

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