Mistaken Identity

I guess its lucky they didn't send the SWAT team in for her, as she might be dead now:

[Victoria] Aguayo has filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court, after she was arrested, indicted, and nearly prosecuted for her "role" in the infamous "Desert Divas" prostitution ring.

One problem: Aguayo was not a "desert diva" and the evidence suggesting she was is laughable at best.

On one of the "Desert Divas'" many Web sites, the agency advertised an "escort" named "Tia." "Tia" is described on the site as being "thin, white, and blonde" and has a tattoo on her stomach that is clearly visible in the topless photo of the "diva" Aguayo's lawyer was kind enough to send New Times.

Phoenix Police Detective Christie Hein identified Aguayo as "Tia" based on the photo on the Web site when she arrested her on August 28, 2008, the lawsuit claims.

We've seen pictures of both "Tia" and Aguayo and we gotta say if Aguayo can be identified as "thin, white, and blonde," so can Aretha Franklin.

Aguayo is -- to put it politely -- more of a "plus-sized" woman, she's black, and is missing the tattoo that is so clearly visible in the photo of "Tia" on the "Desert Diva" Web site.

Simple, um, mistake, right?

After being arrested, Aguayo spent nearly two months in jail before she was granted a supervised release pending an upcoming trial.

While she was in the clink, Aguayo lost custody of her daughter, Jasmine, and has since been unable to get her back.

  • Dr. T

    It looks like someone in Maricopa County had a grudge and set-up this false arrest to destroy Ms. Aguayo's life.

  • NormD

    Never attribute to maliciousness that which can be explained by simple incompetence.

  • Ian Random

    I think it's great that they listed the detective, but I'd like it if they mentioned the prosecutor's name. I wish law stuff wasn't so gated, so it could be cross referenced easily. That way you could track a prosecutor's career and see if they are incompetent. I love the one where the prosecutor went forward with a rape case and the accused kept saying he was sterile. A few years later they eventually tested and released him, but it'd be great to track lawyers like that.

  • Bob Smith

    I guess its lucky they didn’t send the SWAT team in for her, as she might be dead now

    If not her, her dog(s) certainly would be.

    When the witness says "white" and the defendant is black, why wasn't this sham of a trial shot down in the grand jury?

  • O Bloody Hell

    > Never attribute to maliciousness that which can be explained by simple incompetence.

    I think this one qualifies as flat-out unmitigated stupidity. "Incompetence" is far too benign a term when it gets this far out of hand. I hope she gets a really, really good attorney.

    Breaking down the woman's door, taking a look at the supposed picture, and saying "we got the wrong person" is "simple incompetence". For this sort of thing to go this far takes reams of colossal stupidity from multiple sources all around.

  • O Bloody Hell

    > I love the one where the prosecutor went forward with a rape case and the accused kept saying he was sterile.

    Sometimes it's just a prick state attorney wanting to keep his stinking win-loss record up.

    There was a local case around here where a comic-shop owner's employee sold a comic-book that was nominally "R-rated" as a part of a cheap $5 pack of old stock to a woman who it turned out was buying it for her 16yo son. She didn't just complain to the owner (who would have pulled all the packs to check for that thing, he was certainly conscientious), she complained to the state attorney instead, who sent in a 17yo to buy one. The owner got wind of it, and called to ask if there was a problem, and got the response that there was no problem -- and a day or so later the cops show up and haul him off in handcuffs.

    Now, the owner's attorneys knew the DA didn't have standing to do what they did (if you think otherwise from this description, it's because I don't have all the facts, not because it wasn't so) -- the first sale was to an adult, so the cops had no reason to send in someone for the second, and, frankly, a 17yo can see more at an "R" movie -- and, as I say, this would have been resolved quickly, easily and at no expense to the taxpayer had the attorney's office just notified the owner that he was in error (and it WAS nominally "R" at worst -- there was less nudity in it than some PG films that have been released in the past, and little else which was objectionable). The DA refused to drop the case, and the owner was determined to stand for his rights. The DA kept trying to get him to plead out, but he refused, and it finally went to court. The judge took one look at the case, and openly admonished the DA in court for bringing such a worthless case all the way to trial. Didn't help the owner much, he was out about 35k in legal fees (this was about 20 years ago, mind you). But the dickhead DA kept his "W-L" record and got to claim it was the "liberal judge" who threw out the case instead of it being a blatantly bad decision on his part.

    There are some people who really, really deserve to get shot by a pissed-off victim, and that PoS DA was one of them.

    The notion of malicious prosecution/action by a government official should be a civilly actionable offense, and it should come out of the pocket of the official before it does from the State. If it is already, it's not easy enough to apply it.

  • jay

    One thing that prosecutors hate to do is admit they were wrong. Regardless of circumstances.

    On the other hand, it is my understanding that sometimes providers of these services are not the people pictured in the ad, they count on the customer deciding to go ahead anyhow.

  • Plungerman

    The comic store owner should have prosecuted the woman for <> Providing R rated material to underage mouth breathers is against the law round these parts.

    P

  • Max

    Isn't this the same county of Sheriff Joe? Well, obviously this beaurocratic nightmare is not limited to the infamous Sheriff and his thugs. I still can't believe that so many of the residents actually support such racist and unjustified bull-sh*t. But then it is news like this that let's me be thankful I don't live there.