A Rhode Island teen will never forget the day in September 2008 when he was charged with assault. The problem for him is that no one else should have known about it, he claims in a lawsuit, and he’s suing the town of Madison over it.
The 18-year-old's lawyer and other legal observers say the lawsuit might be the first of its kind in the state.
The lawsuit filed last week in New Haven Superior Court says the teen, named only as John Doe, was charged with assault when he was 17 and attending a school in Madison.
State law requites that arrest records for people under the age of 18 “shall be confidential and shall not be open to public inspection,” his attorney, Diane Polan of New Haven, wrote in the suit, which the New Haven Register obtained.
The teen claims the town of Madison broke the law and violated his privacy by putting his name on an arrest log posted on the Internet.
Attorney Diane Polan says her client's case was supposed to sealed from public view because of his age, but his name remained on the online arrest log for about a year.
Doe was placed on a youth offender docket, a docket that provides confidentiality and non-public court proceedings and the charges were nolled in November 2008, the Register reports, citing the suit Polan filed.
Town Attorney Floyd Dugas says police made an honest mistake and it was corrected.