An imprisoned felon is suing local cities, counties, police departments and Southwestern Illinois College for nearly $1.7 trillion alleging he was falsely arrested and unfairly banned from the college campus.
Rufus Edward Jones, a 48-year-old inmate at Western Correctional Center in Mount Sterling, recently filed the hand-written suit in federal court.
Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker said he remembered Jones as "real cantankerous." Jones pleaded guilty to a felony aggravated battery charge after inappropriately touching a classmate in September at SWIC.
Walker said he was reviewing pending cases after taking office in December and decided to change the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony because of Jones' past criminal history. Jones served 20 years in prison after being arrested in 1992 and convicted of home invasion and robbery charges, according to court documents.
"He was livid," Walker said. "He just couldn't understand. He ultimately ended up pleading guilty to two years in corrections out of Randolph County court. I would say if he's angry, I did my job. Someone with that history who inappropriately touches someone at SWIC can just remain angry at going to prison."
Jones claimed he was "injured psychologically" when the law enforcement officers conspired to unjustly arrest him. He also alleged he was denied equal education opportunities after being banned from the campuses of Southwestern Illinois College. His banishment followed allegations from college staff of sexual harassment and stalking, according to court documents.
Jones seeks total damages of $1.698 trillion including:
* $618 billion from Southwestern Illinois College,
* $300 billion from St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly,
* $150 billion from St. Clair County,
* $118 billion from Randolph County,
* $80 billion from the city of Belleville,
* $73 billion from Sparta Police Department,
* $63 billion from the city of Sparta,
* $25 billion from the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department,
* $15 billion from Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker, and
* more than $256 billion from other individuals mentioned in the lawsuit.
Should Jones win, he may have trouble collecting the massive damages sought. For example, the entire St. Clair County annual budget is about $186 million -- a little more than one-tenth of 1 percent of the damages sought by Jones.
Walker said the ability for anyone to press lawsuits is "the beauty and unbeauty of our system." He added he has run across his share of ridiculous lawsuits and it seemed some litigants had "nothing to do except dream up stuff to aggravate people."
Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at email@example.com or 618-239-2501.