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Atlanta-A man who spent nearly two extra years in prison because the Fulton County, Ga., Superior Court clerk’s office didn’t give prison officials his release date is suing head clerk Juanita Hicks for $2.5 million. Calvin T. McGee II, who was serving a seven-year sentence for child molestation, should have been freed from Rogers State Prison on May 27, 2001. He didn’t get out until March 5 of this year. The 22-month delay in his release occurred because the clerk’s office didn’t send the necessary paperwork-a final disposition of sentence-to the state Department of Corrections. McGee was finally released after Fulton Superior Court Judge Doris L. Downs rushed a letter to prison officials on March 5, along with McGee’s 2000 sentencing order. McGee, represented by Decatur, Ga., attorney Ralph S. Goldberg, filed suit early this month in Fulton County State Court against Hicks and an assistant. McGee v. Hicks, No. 03VS057136B (Oct. 1, 2003). McGee seeks damages of $2.5 million, including $6,000 in lost wages and the loss of a car worth $3,000. Hicks began an investigation this spring into why McGee’s paperwork did not reach corrections officials. That investigation is not yet complete, Hicks said, adding that it will include disciplinary action for those responsible, if any is warranted. She reiterated previous statements to the Fulton County Daily Report, a sister publication of The National Law Journal, that every piece of paper her office handles is critical to people’s lives and property and that her office takes its job very seriously. The paper snafu left the clerk’s office open to a suit because the routine handling of paperwork is regarded as a ministerial, rather than discretionary act. Discretionary acts are, as a rule, protected by immunity from liability, while ministerial acts are not. Assistant County Attorney Willie J. Lovett Jr., who is representing Hicks’ office, said that it’s possible his office will make a settlement offer once Hicks’ investigation is completed. But such an offer would not be the $2.5 million McGee is asking for, Lovett said.

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