By Nathan Baker
An order made Wednesday by a Carter County Judge has been called illegal by a Johnson City attorney, who claims the action violates state public records laws.
The general order, dated Feb. 6 and signed by Carter County General Sessions Court Judge John W. Walton, instructs the Carter County Sheriff’s Department to “release any paperwork pertaining to Carter County General Sessions court and Carter County Juvenile Court to Lori Pierce and no other individual.”
It additionally names arrest warrants, summonses, violation of probation, petitions, capiases, and attachments as examples of the types of documents to be funneled through Pierce, the court bench clerk.
There was no reason for the order in the brief document, but Walton has previously pointed to paperwork and procedure mistakes in the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office as the cause of false arrests and other court errors.
After a Biltmore man was wrongfully arrested last May, the judge said similar foul ups happen “more and more.”
“It was a breakdown on work that should be done routinely,” he told the STAR. “If they had pulled the paperwork, there wouldn’t have been a problem like this.”
Circuit Court Clerk John Paul Mathes said his office was no longer receiving the warrants and other paperwork that usually comes from the sheriff’s department.