Murderer mistakenly released from Illinois jail


Why is this man smiling?

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart took responsibility today for mistakenly letting a man serving 60 years in Indiana for murder walk out of County Jail after a local charge against him was dismissed.

“We let people down, no mistake about it,” Dart said in an interview at sheriff’s offices in Maywood. “Our office did not operate the way it should have, clearly…”

Dart said his office is still looking at where and how the system broke down to allow Steven Robbins’ mistaken release from the jail, but he said that officials at the jail had no paperwork showing he was serving time in an Indiana prison for murder.

Like other indigent people, Robbins was outfitted with clothing from Goodwill – a long-sleeve brown shirt and brown pants – before being released out the front entrance, Dart said. He also likely was given bus fare.

Dart said the sheriff’s office uses an archaic system – entirely paper-driven – in handling the movement of an average of about 1,500 inmates every day. Some are entering the jail after their arrest and others are being bused to courthouses around the county for court appearances.

The sheriff said the warrant for Robbins’ arrest should have been quashed by prosecutors when armed violence charges were dismissed against him in 2007. In addition, he said prosecutors signed off on the sheriff’s office traveling to Indiana to pick up Robbins at the prison in Michigan City and bring him back on the outstanding warrant.

“We were able to get an extradition warrant on a case that didn’t exist,” Dart said. “That’s the first problem.”

Earlier, documents reviewed by the Tribune showed that paperwork filled out by Cook County sheriff’s officers this week made it clear that Robbins was serving a 60-year sentence for murder in Indiana and was to be returned to authorities there after being brought to Chicago to dispose of an old case against him…

Robbins was allowed to walk free out of the Cook County Jail Wednesday evening after his court appearance. Authorities today were reviewing the paperwork in Robbins’ file to see how the mistake was made and who was responsible…

Always heartwarming to see that coppers here in New Mexico aren’t the only ones who do stupid things like this.

Although we had one crook who was let loose twice and was almost on his way out the door for a third time when someone caught the mistake.

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