By Associated Press - Wednesday, March 18, 2015

LIMA, Ohio (AP) - An appeals court says a woman can sue an Ohio sheriff and a deputy for defamation and emotional distress after she was mistakenly identified as a criminal at a news conference.

A 2014 lawsuit by Christine Hughes says Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart and deputy Patrick Goldschmidt alleged Hughes was a convicted welfare fraudster who could face other charges.

The lawsuit also says the sheriff’s department retraction continued to imply Hughes was a convicted felon.

Hughes, a registered nurse, had no felony criminal history. The Third Ohio District Court of Appeals ruled Monday the sheriff and deputy aren’t covered by governmental immunity.

The ruling says the sheriff’s department mistakenly used the wrong photo for another woman with the same name. Records don’t say where authorities got Hughes’ photo.

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