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Woman Held With No Bond For Incomplete Community Service In 1994

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Cook County sheriff's office calls it "outrageous": A recent audit of jail inmates turned up a Chicago woman who'd been held for seven weeks without bond, and she was only accused of not completing court-ordered community service almost 23 years ago.

WBBM's Steve Miller reports.

The chain of events started Oct. 14 at the store where 43-year-old Latasha Eatman worked.

"I'm thinking in my mind, like, what have I done?"

Eatman was arrested at the Roseland store where she's worked for 15 years.

Police came in to check whether cigarettes were being sold illegally, and they ran a check on Eatman's name.

What turned up was a 1994 warrant that said she never finished her community service after a drug possession.

Eatman was taken to jail. Cara Smith, chief policy officer for Sheriff Dart, said Eatman didn't see a judge for 10 days.

"She remained in a no-bond status for every one of the 49 days she was in custody," Smith said. "People that are in a no-bond status, I'm sure the public would think that would be murderers. And the public would be right. Not some woman who, 23 years ago, got probation for some drug case."

Eatman said she's worked at the same store for 15 years. She said, in 1994, a judge waived her community service.

Eatman was in jail last month when her son turned six.

"I told my son I was at work," Eatman said. "Out of town for my boss. I told him at first I was at school. And he was like, 'You're at big girl school?' And I was like, 'Yeah.'"

Eatman was released the day after the sheriff's office discovered her case, after Smith and the state's attorney's office teamed up to get her freed.

"Without so much as an apology or an explanation, it took 49 days of her life away," Smith said. "For no reason at all. And that included 49 days she wasn't with her son. It included 49 days she wasn't working. Without so much as an explanation of what happened to her."

Smith says the system "remains very broken."

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