CHICAGO – Two days after a stunning series of errors allowed a convicted murderer to walk out of a Chicago jail where he did not need to be in the first place, police recaptured the man at a northern Illinois home where he was watching TV.
Steven L. Robbins, 44, put up no resistance Friday night as police burst through the door of a townhome in Kankakee, about 60 miles south of Chicago, said Cook County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Frank Bilecki.
The mistaken release of the prisoner, who was serving a 60-year sentence in Indiana for murder, focused attention on an antiquated corner of the criminal justice system that still relies extensively on paper documents instead of computers in moving detainees around and keeping tabs on their court status.
The episode prompted promises of change, but also some finger-pointing about who was ultimately to blame.
“We’re not ducking the fact we dropped the ball. We made mistakes,” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said Friday.
Robbins was brought before a Cook County Circuit Court judge on Tuesday and Wednesday over drug and armed violence charges in a case that it turns out had been dismissed in 2007. In a second lapse, paperwork was lost that would have made it clear to Illinois officials that Robbins was to be returned to Indiana custody.