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Dart: Paperwork To Blame For Inmate’s Accidental Release

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Jeremiah Harris. (Credit: Department of Corrections.)

Jeremiah Harris. (Credit: Department of Corrections.)

Suzanne Le Mignot Suzanne Le Mignot
Suzanne Le Mignot serves as CBS 2 Chicago’s general assignment...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says, it’s not his fault an inmate was set free by mistake.

Jeremiah Harris was supposed to return to Stateville to finish serving a 12-year sentence for being an armed habitual criminal.

He was brought back into custody after the mistaken release was discovered. CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot takes a look at how this could even happen.

“This was not ours and I’m not going to sit back and take the blame,” said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

Dart says inmate Jeremiah Harris’ paperwork from the Illinois Department of Corrections never said he needed to be returned to custody after a court appearance to continue serving a 12-year prison sentence.

“It was nowhere on any court record, which once again, technically, are they required to, no. Would it be nice? Oh, God yes and do we constantly get little extra notes on things, yes we do, all the time,” said Dart.

He said that there weren’t any extra notes in this case.

Dart says his office received two orders. One shows Harris found not guilty in a homicide case, was to be released as to this case only. The other shows, in a probation case, Harris was to be released as to this case only.

“Makes no reference of any other case, anywhere else in the system,” said Dart.

AN IDOC document shows the Cook County Sheriff’s Department signed a sheriff’s receipt from June 7 of this year, calling for Harris’ return to the custody of the Stateville prison warden after his murder trial ended on Monday at 26th and California.

In a statement, the IDOC says, “The signed Sheriff’s Receipt shows the Illinois Department of Corrections followed all procedures in informing the Cook County Sheriff’s Department that Inmate Jeremiah Harris was to be returned to IDOC custody.”

A Dart spokesperson told CBS 2 they feel that document is not relevant to what happened Monday. Dart’s office says the issue still lies with the court system and the antiquated paper based process of record keeping.

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