Inmate mistakenly released from jail allegedly beats girlfriend - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Inmate mistakenly released from jail allegedly beats girlfriend

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is apologizing Wednesday for mistakenly releasing a jail inmate, who then allegedly beat up his girlfriend.

It was apparently a minor paperwork snafu that led to the mistaken release, but police say the consequences were severe.

"We move 1,500 people a day back and forth to court," Dart said, explaining why an overcrowded jail puts all sorts of stress on the system. "We have 40 different courtrooms. You know, we're moving people everywhere."

On Wednesday, Dart says, another example of the overcrowding consequences is apparent. Three weeks ago, Stephen Derkits, appeared before a judge. He had been charged with beating his girlfriend. Five of the six criminal counts were dismissed, but sheriff's employees mistakenly recorded that all six charges were dismissed and they set him free.

The mistake was discovered Tuesday. Within three hours, deputies located him at his girlfriend's home, where police say he had beaten her again. The sheriff's office is investigating who's to blame for his release.

"It goes through multiple hands," Human Resources Bureau Chief Dana Wright says. "So, there is an internal investigation going on, there will be discipline for the number of people that look at it and should have caught it at that point."

As many as six sheriff's employees may have been involved in Derkits release. They could face suspensions of up to a month or so.

Sheriff Dart says the mistakes are likely to continue, as long as he's stuck with an outdated system using paper files, with no funding for electronic record keeping. And the overcrowding doesn't help.

"We're really out of arrows," Dart says. "We have nothing left in the quiver right now. So we're really at that point where we've tried everything. I don't have any tricks up my sleeve."

Sheriff's officers say they had to use a stun gun to subdue Derkits during his arrest Tuesday.

He's the second inmate to be mistakenly released from the jail this year.

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