Kyla Smith and Karlo Bailey (Photos from Williamson Co. Sheriff's Office)
FRANKLIN, TN (WSMV) -
Some suspected criminals in Middle Tennessee are walking free after the courts made a big mistake.
By law, a judge is supposed to sign probation violation warrants, but the wrong person signed an unknown number of those warrants in Williamson County.
The Williamson County District Attorney couldn't say how many cases have been recently dismissed because of that error, but we do know of at least two cases.
Kyla Smith and Karlo Bailey were both charged with probation violations, but their unrelated cases were recently dismissed after a local attorney noticed something wasn't right with the warrants that were issued for them.
"There were several warrants, and I really don't have an exact number, that were not signed by the court or by the judges but instead were signed by assistants that were working in the judge's offices," said District Attorney General Kim Helper.
Something as simple as the wrong signature on Smith's and Bailey's warrants meant both of their cases were thrown out.
Tennessee law requires a judge to sign probation violation warrants, but in Williamson County, those warrants were being signed by judicial commissioners and clerks.
Helper said all the cases affected were misdemeanor charges.
Smith was originally picked up on drug charges, and Bailey was originally accused of perjury.
Helper said the problem has now been fixed.
"Once it came to the court's attention, both of our general sessions judges took steps immediately to correct the situation that those warrants were not properly signed were dismissed," she said.
The Williamson County district attorney believes the courts may have been confused by the kind of warrant they were signing, because Tennessee law allows standard arrest warrants to be signed by judicial commissioners and clerks.
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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