Suit: Man held in prison nearly 150 days too long

SHARE Suit: Man held in prison nearly 150 days too long
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Malik Erkins | Illinois Department of Corrections

A man convicted of two burglaries was held in an Illinois prison for 143 days — nearly 5 months — too long, according to a federal lawsuit filed Thursday.

Malik Erkins, 19, filed the lawsuit against Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, alleging her office did not inform the Illinois Department of Correction that he was entitled to credit for time served toward his prison sentence.

On June 5, 2014, Cook County Circuit Court Lawrence Flood sentenced Erkins, of Matteson, to serve three years for each burglary conviction, to be served concurrently, court records show.

If he had been properly credited for 337 days of time served in Cook County Jail or a juvenile detention facility while awaiting trial, he would have been released from the downstate Robinson Correctional Center on Dec. 28, 2014, according to the lawsuit.

Instead, Erkins was released on parole on May 20, 2015.

On July 24, 2014, he was transferred to the Robinson facility and his “projected out date,” which did not include credit for time served, was scheduled for Dec. 5, 2015, according to the suit.

On Sept. 23, Erkins wrote to Brown’s office, indicating that it had failed to inform the IDOC that he was entitled to the credit toward his sentence and requesting the office send that information to the prison, the suit alleges. But Brown’s office did not respond.

He reached out again on Nov. 12 and finally heard back in a Jan. 30 letter from Brown’s office, saying it had entered an order for Erkins to receive credit for time served, the suit claims.

But the lawsuit alleges that either Brown’s office did not send the Jan. 30 letter’s information to the IDOC, or IDOC employees were lying when they told Erkins that they did not receive the information and thus refused to recalculate his “projected out date.”

Erkins again reached out to Brown’s office on Feb. 11, Feb. 27 and March 27, before he was finally released on May 20, the suit alleges.

The three-count suit claims wrongful incarceration, negligence and seeks to hold Cook County responsible. Erkins, who alleges he suffered “humiliation and indignities,” is seeking an undisclosed amount in damages.

The office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court has not yet been served with the suit, said Brown’s spokeswoman Jalyne Strong. Once served, the case will be forwarded for handling by the State’s Attorney, she said.

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