McCroskey says she never met with officials to discuss errors in her office; records, interviews suggest otherwise

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Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey said she's never met with other local leaders to discuss the errors originating in her office that many officials are now calling a systemic problem that has led to wrongful arrests, wrongfully revoked driver's licenses, and unwarranted convictions.

Records and interviews with Knox County officials suggest otherwise.

During a more than hour-long interview last week with WBIR Channel 10 regarding problems inside her office, reporters directly asked her whether other officials had addresses the matter or met with her.

"No, no meeting," she said. "I would gladly meet with the other offices. Gladly."

A WBIR reporter then asked: "So nobody has brought a history of issues to your attention?"

McCroskey responded: "No. No."

However, a series of emails WBIR obtained under the state's open records act, and interviews with local leaders say that top ranking officials have met a number of times with McCroskey and members of her staff.

The emails exchanged between from the district attorney general's office, the criminal clerk's office, the judges and the law director's office touch on what some call inadequate training and outdated technology inside her office.

At one point in late October 2012, McCroskey sought help from the county's Information Technology Department to see what could be done. A month later the sessions court judges sent a memo to McCroskey, telling her to make sure that her bookkeeping program is synchronized with the county's recordkeeping software that the judges, prosecutors and the sheriff's office rely on.

In addition, Knox County General Sessions Court Judge Andrew Jackson VI said that the other sessions court judges, members of the Sheriff's Office, the IT department, and the District Attorney General's Office held meetings that included McCroskey during the past year.

He said officials focused mostly on errors in her office that have caused problems with traffic-related offenses "to find solutions to make sure these problems don't reoccur."

"Over the past seven to eight months there have been a number of meetings involving those people," he said.

McCroskey has come under fire since a WBIR Channel 10 investigation on Friday that discovered dozens of instances of errors that stemmed from the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk's Office and led to residents wrongly taken into custody or kept in jail for days, sometimes weeks, past their scheduled release dates.

Another Channel 10 report also noted numerous other errors originating from her office connected to traffic-related citations. Officials say workers inside the office are entering wrong data into the records management system, losing crucial paperwork, and providing defendants with bad information.

Top Knox County leaders, including the Mayor, county commissioners, and the sheriff's office, now want answers, and have begun questioning what McCroskey has told them.

They also say she has refused to accept blame for the problems.

McCroskey, who did not return a call seeking comment for this article, has suggested that the problems are few and far between.

Contact Mike Donila at mdonila@wbir.com and Eleanor Beck at ebeck@wbir.com.

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