Juvenile Detention Home and others want wrongful imprisonment suit dismissed

Amelia Flood Feb. 24, 2011, 6:00am


The Madison County Juvenile Detention Home, the Litchfield Police Department and two of its officers are moving to dismiss a wrongful imprisonment suit brought by the mother of a 13 year-old boy.

Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian is set to hear the move March 4 at 9 a.m.

Plaintiff Sandra Becker is suing on behalf of her son, Eric Becker, claiming that the county juvenile detention home held her son wrongfully after he was arrested on false charges.

The defendants claim that the Beckers can't bring a wrongful imprisonment suit as Eric Becker was detained under a legal process.

According to the complaint, Litchfield police officers Corey Bilyue arrested her son in November after he and other children got into a verbal argument near a Litchfield Dairy Queen store.

A rock was allegedly thrown and Sandra Becker claims that her son was arrested on suspicion of throwing it.

She denies that he did it and claims another child confessed to throwing the rock.

The plaintiff then claims that despite the confession, her son was arrested on felony charges and questioned by Bilyue for two hours before officer Eric Jolley took him to the Madison County Juvenile Detention Home.

She claims her son was held for 86 hours and suffered extreme anxiety during the incarceration.

Eventually, according to the plaintiff's complaint, the charges were dismissed.

Sandra Becker is seeking more than $300,000 in damages and other relief.

In the Feb. 2 motion to dismiss, the defendants contend that there was probable cause for Eric Becker's arrest.

On that basis, the boy was taken to the juvenile detention home "as it was believed that there was an urgent and immediate necessity of keep Plaintiff in custody."

The defendants claim the detention was warranted although Bilyue was not a detention or probation officer. Those types of officers have the authority under the Juvenile Court Act to detain minors at the detention home.

The defendants also claim immunity under the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act.

Kent Follmer represents the Beckers.

John Gilbert and George Casson represent the defendants.

The case is Madison case number 10-L-1125.

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