Knox Co. criminal court clerk formally withdraws from race

Update: On Wednesday, Joy McCroskey officially withdrew from the race for Knox County Clerk. She filled out a withdrawal letter for the Knox County Election Commission, asking that her name be taken off the ballot.

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Embattled Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey has opted not to seek re-election, telling employees during a staff meeting Tuesday that she was withdrawing from the race.

Multiple sources confirm to 10News that McCroskey broke the news during a mandatory staff meeting Tuesday afternoon. She told her employees that she was withdrawing from the race. Her last day is Aug. 31.

McCroskey has been under fire for months now after a WBIR Channel 10 investigation detailed problems inside her office that appear tied to poor training, outdated information, and her refusal to cooperate with other county departments.

Her workers often enter the wrong data into the records management system, lose crucial paperwork and provide defendants, prosecutors, and authorities with bad information, a 10News analysis found. The errors have led to dozens of wrongful arrests, wrongfully revoked driver's licenses, and unwarranted convictions.

In addition, two residents who say they were illegally taken into custody as a result of the mistakes have each asked the county for $50,000 in damages, and local leaders say they expect more legal action soon.

McCroskey, who's worked in the office for four decades, took over in mid-2008 after long-time clerk Martha Phillips passed away. She was elected to the office later that year.

She operates what the county calls a "fee office," meaning it's supposed to be self-sustaining. Any money it receives covers $494,000 in monthly payroll, including benefits, and the rest is turned over to the county's general fund to help maintain overall day-to-day operations.

The office serves as the official record keeper for Criminal Court, General Session Court, and Fourth Circuit Court.

The deadline to qualify to run for the criminal court clerk seat is noon Thursday. The primary is set for May with a general election set for August.

At this point, only McCroskey, Knox County Commissioner Mike Hammond and local attorney Steve Williams have turned in nominating petitions to run. All three are Republicans.

McCroskey has until noon Feb. 27 to file a formal withdrawal with the Knox County Election Commission or her name will remain on the ballot.


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