New Criminal Court Clerk opens up office to show problems

New Criminal Court Clerk opens up office to show problems

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After a look behind the scenes Hammond says it's clear why so many mistakes are being made. After a look behind the scenes Hammond says it's clear why so many mistakes are being made.
Hammond says many documents haven't been properly filed and often times tracking down information can be very difficult. Hammond says many documents haven't been properly filed and often times tracking down information can be very difficult.
A new website will also allow people to keep up with their own cases by searching the docket online. A new website will also allow people to keep up with their own cases by searching the docket online.
By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Former Knox County Commissioner, Mike Hammond, has officially taken over as Criminal Court Clerk and is wasting no time re-organizing the office.

Problems with paperwork and record keeping led to a number of wrongful arrests under the leadership of former clerk Joy McCroskey.

Previous story: Court Clerk McCroskey responds to allegations of mistakes leading to false arrests

After a look behind the scenes Hammond says it's clear why so many mistakes are being made.

"These are the record of people who have been in court, so as you can see there are boxes and boxes and boxes," said Hammond gesturing at stacks of paperwork.

Hammond says many documents haven't been properly filed and often times tracking down information can be very difficult.

"The employees are telling me that it took up to two weeks to find a document and that's unacceptable," he added.

It's also led to several wrongful arrests, something Hammond says his office is addressing right away by going through 160 pages of active and unserved probation violations,

"Our folks are going to grow through this list by hand and personally research each case and ensure that we don't have a situation where somebody has paid their cost and erroneously had a probation violation placed against them that could result in their arrest," said Chief Deputy Clerk, Richard Major.

Major says they're also updating the way records are kept, especially those that come from inside the courtroom. He says going forward any notes made on a case will be entered in real time.

"What that means is as the events occur while all of the relevant parties are still present the information is being put into the computer database at that point," said Major.

A new website will also allow people to keep up with their own cases by searching the docket online.

"Anyone that wants information as to when they are supposed to be in court," said Hammond. "They are going to be able to get this information by inputting their name and the date change or whatever."

Hammond hopes to have the clerk's office running efficiently once again in the next six months.

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