FOND DU LAC – A woman who was arrested and held in jail for two weeks – but was never charged – has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Fond du Lac County officials.
Tina Ewell filed suit in connection with the investigation into the death of her brother-in-law, Timothy Nance.
Ewell’s sister, Eve Nance, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse. No trial date has been set. Nance allegedly shot her husband, and then dumped his body in the woods in Milwaukee.
[caption id="attachment_9356" align="alignright" width="300"] Eve Nance[/caption]
The federal suit was filed against District Attorney Eric Toney, Assistant District Attorney Dennis Krueger, city of Fond du Lac police detectives William Ledger and Matt Bobo, and Sheriff Mylan Fink.
Sheriff Fink and attorneys for both the county and the city tell FOX 11 they're not commenting right now, because they haven't received the filing.
"From the beginning, the officials in Fond du Lac county set out to arrest Ms. Ewell and do anything they possibly could to try to get a confession out of her – or someone else,” said Ewell’s attorney Richard Dvorak, of Chicago, Ill. “Even though there was no reason whatsoever to believe she had anything to do with any criminal act."
According to the suit:
- Ewell was questioned about Timothy Nance’s disappearance several times between Nov. 5 and 20.
- On Nov. 20, Ewell was arrested.
- On Nov. 27, “Toney and Krueger publicly admitted that plaintiff (Ewell) was being held in custody at their direction while the police sought to gather evidence to permit them to charge plaintiff with an offense.”
- She remained in custody until Dec. 2, when she was released without charged being filed.
Ewell contends that the conspiracy deprived her of her rights because there was no reason to arrest her, she did not receive a judicial determination of probable cause in the proper timeframe, and the judge wasn’t authorized to keep her in custody while the investigation continued.
A week after Nance and Ewell’s arrest, a public defender demanded the two be brought before a judge. At the time, Judge Richard Nuss said he found enough probable cause in the state's sealed case for their arrest and week-long jailing without charges. He then set bond.
Ewell remained in the Fond du Lac County jail for one more week, before she was released without charges being filed.
Dvorak says of the two weeks Ewell spent in Fond du Lac county jail, nearly two days were in solitary confinement.
"This is Guantanamo-esque,” said Dvorak in a phone interview with FOX 11. “You can't hold people, without charges, for two weeks."
"She's devastated by this – I mean, she was made to look like a murderer in her community. You can imagine how devastating this is to someone."
Dvorak says Ewell is seeking a yet-to-be-determined amount of monetary compensation for the ordeal. No trial dates have been set – for both Ewell’s suit and Nance’s homicide case.