British film director imprisoned in California jail for 84 days despite having been freed on bail Duncan Roy sues Los Angeles police for millions of dollars

 

Los Angeles

A British film director who spent 84 days in a Californian prison, despite having been ordered free on bail, will today file a multi-million dollar wrongful imprisonment claim against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Duncan Roy is heading a class-action lawsuit backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which says he is among thousands of foreign nationals who have been illegally held in US jails after a “hold” was put on their release by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement authority (ICE).

By law, a “hold” can only be used to detain inmates for a maximum of 48 hours, in order to allow ICE to check their immigration status. But the ACLU, which originally learned of Mr Roy’s case by reading about it in The Independent, says it is being routinely used to detain people for months on end.

“It’s despicable and outrageous,” said Mr Roy yesterday. “What happened to me is happening to far too many people. It is destroying lives, and it has to stop.”

Mr Roy – whose credits include the award-winning indy title AKA, starring Bill Nighy, and the Liz Hurley film Method – was arrested in November on suspicion of attempting to blackmail Chris Cortazzo, a Malibu estate agent and former boyfriend. The two men had fallen out over a property deal.

He appeared in court days later and was immediately ordered free on bail. But the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department refused to release him from the city’s Men’s Central Jail, citing an “ICE hold.” It wasn’t until February that they backed down.

During the incarceration, Mr Roy, a cancer patient, was denied access to doctors. He was repeatedly told that he would be freed only if he agreed to plead guilty to a felony, which would have resulted in immediate deportation.

After his release, as questions began to be asked about the case, prosecutors agreed to drop the felony extortion charges. In a plea bargain, Mr Roy, who is in the US legally, agreed to plead guilty to a minor misdemeanour, for which he paid no fine, and served no jail time. He was also allowed to remain in the US.

The allegedly-unlawful jail stay had led to the abandonment of It Gets Better, a  film Mr Roy was to have made starting Azchary Quinto. Since his release, he has struggled to find work, and is now seeking undisclosed damages, in addition to false imprisonment.

The LA County Sheriff did not respond to a request for comment from The Indepedent. Jennie Pasquarella, an ACLU lawyer working on Roy’s case, said that its use of ICE “holds,” under which roughly which 2,000 people are currently being detained in Men’s Central Jail alone, is: “completely unlawful.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Team Leader

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you want to work for a Compa...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you want to work for a Compa...

Recruitment Genius: HR Advisor

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an innovative a...

Recruitment Genius: Production Technician

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Production Technician is required to join a ...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower