Judges Scramble To Fix Errors That Could Clear Convicts - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Judges Scramble To Fix Errors That Could Clear Convicts

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by Nick Beres

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. - There is concern in Williamson County over a snafu involving criminal warrants that could lead to the release of convicts.

There are clear guidelines for those who violate their probation. In those cases, general sessions judges are required to sign the criminal warrants for further punishment which could include a return to jail. 

However, attorney David Veile said that didn't happen with one of his clients and he filed a motion to have the probation violation dismissed.

"I determined that it had become practice that probation violation warrants were being signed by someone other than the judge," said Veile. 

The state attorney general has made it clear the judge must sign those specific warrants, but in many cases the judge's assistant or a magistrate signed the warrants.

Those improper warrants could lead to the release of some convicts in jail for probation violations.

"If someone had been placed into custody because of warrants, the court addressed that to secure the release," said district attorney Kim Helper.  Helper said it's unclear how many convicts were released from jail because the warrants were dismissed.

Several other attorneys have filed similar motions on behalf of their probation violation clients.

Helper thinks this was all an honest mistake by the courts, and she's been told the judges are taking steps to correct the mistake.

Most of the convicts involved were non-violent offenders for misdemeanor crimes.

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