Latasha Eatman missed Thanksgiving and her son's sixth birthday this year as she sat in jail for seven weeks—all because of what the Cook County Sheriff's Office is calling an "outrageous" error on the books for 22 years, CBS News and CBS Chicago report. On Oct. 14, cops came into the store where Eatman works to see if it was selling illegal cigarettes, and when they ran her name, they found a 1994 warrant for community service she hadn't completed for a minor drug-possession infraction. Eatman was arrested and waited in a jail cell for 10 days, at which point she was hauled before an irritated judge, denied bond, and thrown back in jail for another 39 days. The problem? The remainder of that old community service had been terminated by a judge at the time after it was deemed Eatman had tried to fulfill it and couldn't due to logistical tie-ups that weren't her fault.
The warrant in her name somehow remained, leading to her arrest more than two decades later. It was only when the Cook County Sheriff's Office was doing an audit of jailed women that they found Eatman's case and "raised holy hell with the prosecutor’s office," per sheriff's rep Cara Smith. Eatman, who tried to hide from her young son why she was gone by telling him she was at school or on business, was released the day after the sheriff's office intervened. Smith, who says Eatman was let out "without so much as an apology or an explanation," notes Eatman is working extra hours to pay all the bills that racked up while she was in jail not earning money. "You wonder why these communities don't trust law enforcement," Smith says. "Can you imagine a more thoughtless, cruel way to handle this?" (Parents at a NYC nursery school were wary of this celebrity's community service.)