Knox criminal court clerk speaks about allegations

Knox criminal court clerk speaks about allegations, reelection challenge

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Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey will officially face a challenge in the next election after the reports of problems in her office. Those alleged problems include claims that incorrect data had been entered into the court computer system, leading to warrants issued by mistake and people wrongly arrested.

Knox County Commissioner Mike Hammond brought up the issue at Monday's Commission workshop. Hammond told 6 News last week he was considering running against Joy McCroskey.

Hammond announced Wednesday that he's in the race, saying people in the City-County Building had reached out to him and he thinks he can bring improvements to the office.

Last week McCroskey said a disgruntled employee may be to blame for allegations of mistakes being made in her office, but one former employee doesn't believe that's the case.

Pages and pages of emails from an assistant district attorney to the district attorney, the clerk's office and the law director detail alleged issues with the Clerk's office. Those issues include everything from people being wrongfully arrested to paperwork not being complete, causing cases to be dismissed.

McCroskey told 6 News last week she only knew of one person being arrested improperly, and the mistake wasn't made by her office. When we requested a personnel file for a former employee Sara Pendley, who fired from the clerk's office in September, records were discovered stating that two people were falsely arrested due to mistakes allegedly made by Pendley.

Pendley told 6 News she was never told of these alleged mistakes leading to false arrests, and believes the allegations are lies coming from the clerk's office.

According to her file, she was aware of and signed off on past issues of being tardy and failing to wear pantyhose but there's no signature of her having knowledge or being written up for mistakes leading to false arrests.

6 News asked McCroskey to explain the discrepancies between her statement last week and the records we obtained.

"That's in question. That's what we are checking on now. We are working on that case, and we looked through files," said McCroskey.

6 News asked if she noticed a discrepancy. "Yes, yes, but we are working on it, so I want everything there is to do with each instance then I'll have that all ready," said McCroskey.

The Knox County Commission had a workshop Monday during which Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones addressed the issue of improper arrests. He said for the record his office isn't at fault.

McCroskey says she will have a response during the next commission meeting.

"I'm in the process of going through all the emails, and when we get a complete file on every issue, we'll have it ready," said McCroskey.

McCroskey says she's fine with competition from Commissioner Mike Hammond in the next election.

"I have said before, and I stand by that it's his privilege and his right to run for any office that he chooses," said McCroskey.

The next Knox County Commission meeting is Monday at 2 p.m. at the City County Building.

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