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Woman files suit over arrest for expired tag

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 23, 2001


CLEARWATER -- A woman has filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming she was wrongfully arrested by Clearwater police.

CLEARWATER -- A woman has filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming she was wrongfully arrested by Clearwater police.

Nicolette Shepard filed the lawsuit Tuesday claiming she was arrested and jailed for having an expired tag, when state law states she should only have received a non-criminal notice to appear in court, the complaint states.

Shepard spent a night in jail, then was adjudicated guilty by Judge Thomas B. Freeman. But the conviction was vacated upon appeal because it was a non-criminal violation, said Shepard's Tampa attorney, Katherine Yanes.

Shepard has no criminal record and claims to have never been pulled over by police previously, Yanes said. She did have an expired tag, but state law requires officers to only give a notice to appear in court on the first offense, Yanes said.

"She spent a night in jail, and this is a very nice person," Yanes said. "She was very traumatized by it."

The complaint lists the officers who were present at the arrests -- Sgt. Richard N. Harris, Raymond Jung and Thomas Tague -- as defendants.

Police spokesman Wayne Shelor had not seen the complaint Tuesday and had no comment.

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