CCSO arrests the wrong person, again

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- Remember when the Clay County Sheriff's Office arrested the wrong person last year? 17-year-old Cody Williams spent 35 days in the Clay County jail after being charged as an adult in a sexual battery case. But it was the wrong Cody Williams.

In June, it happened again.

In an email sent to First Coast News Tuesday, the CCSO said another person was wrongfully accused on two occasions of crimes she did not commit. Another name mix-up paired with similar looks led to the wrong arrest.

Ashley Nicole Chiasson of Louisiana shares the first and last name and "general physical characteristics" of another woman who has been accused of "financial type crimes", according to CCSO. The other woman was not identified.

Because of the mistake, charges against Chiasson were dropped Friday, according to CCSO. It seems her only crime was having the name Ashley Chiasson.

Chiasson's lawyer, Andrew Bonderud, says he's suing CCSO, to help make sure another wrong arrest doesn't happen again.

"It's clear that that there is a policy, a pattern, an informal practice that has led to three separate occasions," he said. "You want to laugh at the absurdity of it, but then you realize that someone's life is hanging in the balance," he added.

The following is a statement from Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler:

"In these cases it appears that short-cuts were taken by the detectives during the suspect identification process and a thorough investigation into the identity of the suspect was not completed before the warrants were obtained. The result was the wrong person was accused of crimes she didn't commit. I extend to Ashley Nicole Chiasson my sincere apology for this error. We will seek to make things right for her. An internal investigation began immediately and a full review of how proper investigative procedures were not followed is underway. Those responsible will be held accountable. New measures, safeguards and revised policies will be adopted that will prevent this from occurring again in the future. "

The CCSO also stated that it anticipates a forthcoming lawsuit as a result of the mishandled case.


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