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Man Mistakenly Released From Jail Attacks Girlfriend

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Updated 08/21/13 – 11:49 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – A man mistakenly released from Cook County Jail allegedly beat his girlfriend again while he was out.

WBBM Newsraadio’s Bernie Tafoya reports Steven Derkits, 30, was arrested last month for domestic battery, aggravated battery to a police officer, violating an order of protection, and resisting arrest.

The Cook County Sheriff’s office said, when five of the six charges against Dirkets were dropped on July 30, a jail worker didn’t notice the charge of aggravated battery to a police officer still stood, and released him from custody.

Dirkets was arrested again Tuesday, after missing a court date, when the Cook County Sheriff’s office discovered the mistake. According to a statement from the sheriff’s office, Dirkets was arrested within three hours of learning of the mistake.

The sheriff’s office said Dirkets allegedly attacked his girlfriend again on Monday. A spokesman said there’s no excuse for the office’s mistake.

“The Sheriff’s Office is in the process of disciplining those responsible for Derkits’ release,” the sheriff’s office said in an email.

Dirkets allegedly resisted arrest again when he was taken into custody on Tuesday.

“This incident points out a larger, systemic problem, in addition to struggling with historic overcrowding issues,” the sheriff’s office said. “On any given weekday at the Cook County Jail, more than 1,200 inmates are brought from their cells and transported to outlying courthouses for their court hearings. The paperwork for each of those cases accompanies the inmate. Working with more than a thousand paper files each day invites mistakes that can have serious consequences for public safety. There is no excuse for this antiquated system to continue in an electronic age.”

After another inmate — convicted killer Steven Robbins — was mistakenly released from the jail in January, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s office said it brought Robbins to Cook County from an Indiana state prison, because an old arrest warrant was still on file, but should have been quashed.

The sheriff’s office also said the paperwork on Robbins apparently contained no “hold” order so he could be returned to the Indiana State Prison, in Michigan City. Seeing no hold, sheriff’s personnel released him.

But Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said armed violence and cocaine possession charges against Robbins had been dismissed in 2007, and thus there was no reason to bring him to the Cook County Jail in the first place, despite a series of letters from Robbins demanding trial.

She blamed sheriff’s police personnel.

“Despite the fact that the Cook County assistant state’s attorney told them they didn’t have to bring him back, they thought it would be better if they did bring him back to get this all cleared up because the guy keeps writing letters demanding trial,” Alvarez said.

The sheriff’s office said it had no knowledge of the letters, and that the state’s attorney’s office signed off on the extradition request.

Dart’s office said it is still waiting to hear back from the Circuit Court Clerk’s office and the Cook County court system about a request to replace the paper-based records system with electronic records.

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