NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- For some time, NewsChannel 5 Investigates has been exposing ticket fixing in the city of Nashville.
But it turns out, it may be worse than anyone knew.
Now, we've discovered traffic tickets that were just outright deleted -- apparently in hopes that no one would ever know.
But that didn't stop our chief investigative reporter Phil Williams.
Williams asked Davidson County Circuit Court Clerk Ricky Rooker, "Have people been deleting tickets from the system?"
"I don't know that people have been doing that," Rooker answered. "No, sir."
Yet, what folks in Rooker's office may not have known was this:
Every time they deleted a ticket, Metro's mainframe computers recorded the so-called "DTOM" (Delete Traffic Offense Moving) commands, along with the ticket numbers and the names of the clerks logged onto the system.
In the last two years, it happened more than 800 times.
"Sometimes things have to be deleted for ident purposes, stroke key problems and people making mistakes," Rooker said.
But after NewsChannel 5 requested all the deletion data, we discovered some tickets were erased and never re-entered -- meaning the names of the drivers disappeared, along with the actual tickets themselves.
Attorney David Raybin said, "Changing those tickets constitutes a criminal offense because it deals with the integrity of the system."
Still, we might never have known whose tickets were deleted or why.
That is, until -- in an immense Metro warehouse -- NewsChannel 5 Investigates discovered boxes of duplicates that few knew existed.
But computer records show J-708308 was deleted using the log-in of clerk Susan Grannis.
That's Trujillo's next door neighbor. Grannis is also one of two clerks recently fired for hiding piles of unentered tickets.
Rooker said, "I asked Ms. Grannis if she had ever deleted a ticket off the system and she told me 'no.'"
Raybin said such deletions take ticket-fixing to a whole new level.
"It's one thing where you have judges passing on warrants which may or may not be appropriate," the former prosecutor added.
"But where you have a clerk unilaterally dismissing something and eradicating it so that it never comes to court, that is a criminal offense by definition because it strikes at the heart of the integrity of our system."
Grannis went into hiding after being fired.
But, in a statement released by her attorney, the former clerk said she was never "provided any training regarding how to ... delete ... traffic tickets, and did not know how to do" it. She added, "At no time did I delete tickets for traffic violations."
So who did?
Grannis said she actually gave her neighbor's ticket to her office manager in the traffic violations bureau, David Patterson.
"Did she give you her neighbor's ticket?" Williams asked Patterson.
"No, sir. I don't recall," the deputy circuit court clerk answered.
"You don't recall?"
In her statement, Grannis said she presumed that Patterson "took care of the ticket."
"I don't know how to delete a ticket," Patterson told Williams.
"You don't know how to delete a ticket?"
Rooker said that "if someone's just going in there and deleting a ticket just to delete it, I've got a serious problem with that."