Man sues Linn County over wrongful arrest, 2-month jail stay

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Joseph McBride

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Arizona man who was arrested, transported cross-country and jailed for a robbery that he didn’t commit is suing the Iowa prosecutor responsible for charging him.

Joseph McBride spent two months in custody after authorities arrested him in Phoenix in August.

The 23-year-old was among three people charged for a Jan. 1, 2017, home invasion in his hometown of Cedar Rapids — even though he had proof he was 1,500 miles away. Investigators never spoke with him before his arrest.

McBride’s lawsuit alleges that the complaint signed by Linn County Attorney Vander Sanden contained materially false statements, including that police had “phone records and social media” suggesting he was involved.

Vander Sanden says the charge was based on a “good-faith belief that the victim was correct in the identification.”

Cedar Rapids television station KCRG obtained emails showing that the Linn County Attorney’s Office agreed “Joseph’s story checked out” and that the case should be dismissed.

In addition to his time in the Linn County Jail, McBride also was transferred by a private prisoner transportation firm to jails across Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Missouri as part of his ordeal.

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