Judges meet with McCroskey, talk about court problems

Knox County's five general sessions court judges on Tuesday held a private meeting with embattled Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey to talk about fixing the mistakes in her office that have led to a series of problems, including wrongful arrests, and find ways to prevent them from happening again.

"Everyone came in there with an idea to fix any problems there might be, or at least start down that road," said Judge Andrew Jackson VI. "It's not something where you can come in and just wave a magic wand and magically everything is OK, but I think that there is a good start going on."

Jackson, the presiding judge, said McCroskey "had a number of ideas that she said she was going to implement that hopefully will solve the problems."

He didn't go into specifics, but said the criminal court clerk told the judges that she should would look into reorganizing parts of her office, offer employees additional training, and change some procedures.

"Everyone is working toward the same goal," he said. "We all want things to work correctly."

He said the judges and McCroskey held the hour-long meeting to "make sure the lines of communication are open," and that Tuesday was the first chance for all of them to get together at the same time.

"We didn't want to do any finger pointing," he added. "We just wanted to find solutions."

Jackson said that this point the judges have not scheduled any other meetings with the criminal court clerk.

However, McCroskey, who did not return call seeking comment, is expected to meet in the coming weeks with the county's Criminal Justice Committee.

The committee is an advisory board comprised of county leaders and officials in the legal arena to discuss issues pertaining to the justice system in Knox County. It has no legislative power.

Tuesday's meeting with the judges comes in the wake of a WBIR Channel 10 investigation into that detailed a systemic problem inside McCroskey's office that has led to wrongful arrests, cases set aside due to errors and residents temporarily losing their right to vote.

Last week, McCroskey turned over a packet of information to Knox County commissioners that was supposed to exonerate from her the allegations. She accepted little blame and declined to talk publicly about the problems.

The informational packets McCroskey provided included errors, omitted data, and even admissions of guilt for some of the problems, according to a News 10 analysis. They were comprised mostly of narratives put together by her staff and contained few relevant supporting documents.

The county's Information Technology Department also looked at seven specific cases that McCroskey turned over and released a series of audit reports that connected much of the problems to her office.


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