RIVERSIDE, Calif. Southern California authorities have apologized to a South Carolina nurse who was incorrectly charged with prostitution and had to fly across the country to clear up the paperwork mix-up.
Kendra Dawn Speed, 37, was told by her employer October 27 that a background check revealed she was wanted on a warrant out of Riverside County, California, the Desert Sun newspaper reported Monday.
Even though she’d briefly lived in Los Angeles, Speed had never set foot in Riverside County — and had never been a prostitute.
After being told the issue couldn’t be resolved over the phone, the Rock Hill resident hopped on a flight to California the next morning.
She appeared in Riverside County court, where a judge issued a new warrant for Kendra Michelle Speed, born in 1981, not Kendra Dawn Speed, born in 1978.
“At that point, I didn’t know whether to be relieved or more angry,” Speed told the newspaper. “I went in thinking this was identity theft, and that my life had been stolen. Then I found it was stolen by a clerical error, which could have been fixed on the phone.”
When reached for comment this week, both the Riverside Police Department and the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office offered apologies for their parts in the error dating back to 2012. They said law enforcement had confused Speed’s old driver license with that of the other woman, inadvertently snaring her in a nationwide network of police, courts, warrants and lawyers.
“Our office files more than 60,000 cases involving adult defendants each year and, unfortunately, clerical errors like this can happen,” said John Hall, said DA’s spokesman John Hall.
Speed has been able to return to her job with Favorite Healthcare Staffing.
She said she considered filing a lawsuit, but lawyers advised her that prosecutorial immunity would make her suit a lost cause.
Information from: The Desert Sun, http://www.mydesert.com/