A NewsChannel 5 investigation of ticket fixing in the city of Nashville has been honored with a regional Edward R. Murrow Award, it was announced recently.
That investigation -- part of a probe of Nashville's General Sessions Court -- exposed defense attorneys dismissing traffic citations for Metro employees and other people with political connections while those attorneys substituted for the city's elected judges.
The investigation also discovered tickets being destroyed by court clerks.
The findings led to a stern warning from Nashville Mayor Karl Dean that ticket fixing would no longer be tolerated. The court system overhauled its procedures to limit the power of defense attorneys and to restrict the ability of clerks to delete tickets.
An audit of the traffic violations bureau was initiated, but has not been completed.
The project was led by NewsChannel 5 chief investigative reporter Phil Williams, along with producer/photojournalist Bryan Staples and producer Kevin Wisniewski. Investigative reporter Ben Hall and producer/photojournalist Iain Montgomery also assisted.
RTNDA has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the broadcast news profession.
NewsChannel 5's project beat out competition from five states -- Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.
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