New judge, same problems at DeKalb traffic court - KMSP-TV

New judge, same problems at DeKalb traffic court

Posted: Updated:

Lost records. Backlogs. Chaos.

They're all words used to describe the DeKalb County Recorders Court. That's the court that handles traffic tickets.

Now, a new chief judge says she's cleaned up the mess in the three years she's been there. But, as the I-Team's Dana Fowle discovered, that doesn't mean the experience is by any means problem-free.

Judge Nelly Withers is in charge now and she will tell you – just ask – that January 1, 2010, marked the arrival of a new sheriff in town. She's done quite a bit to bring the DeKalb Recorders Court into the modern age. But, there are still people in a jam with old tickets that haven't been resolved.

Steffani Beaudoin Hall said, "No one knew where I should be or where I should go."

Hall's trying to resolve a traffic ticket – from seven years ago. First, she says she was told it was dismissed. Then, it wasn't. A trip to four different courtrooms later and Hall's understandably frustrated. It's been a painfully long journey to pay a 2006 traffic tickets.

She said, "I came down, paid that ticket, they lost that information. So, I came back and paid for it a second time, and I kept my records and seven years later they come back asking me to pay for it a third time. "

Judge Nelly Withers said, "Boxes of old tickets that had, were still unopened, that nobody had done anything about or had try to bring closure to."

That is, until Chief Judge Nelly Withers took over. When she walked in, she got tough. She says she had to.  They only closed about 50 percent of the cases annually -- creating a huge backlog.  

The judge says the case closure rate now is above 95 percent. She gave Fowle a behind-the-scenes look at building remodeling , as she went over how she is fixing the system.

Judge Withers said, "In every single area we have gone in and attempted to improve, figuring out what we have been doing wrong, historically, the 10 years before we got here. And, changing it."

Fowle spoke with the chief judge about Hall's unresolved traffic ticket.  She says records show Hall claimed for years the tickets didn't belong to her. Hall says the court's records are wrong, again. The judge is not swayed, but will concede one thing:  the old system let Hall down in this case.  The judge agreed that  seven years is too long to get a resolution to a traffic violation.  

"There was no procedure in place on '09, '07...  '05, '03," the judge said. " There was no procedure in place. It got lost in the system. It wound up in that room that was like the record room with records stacked floor to ceiling, with file after file of file of tickets that were in limbo."

When it came time to review Hall's case, the court no longer even had a copy of the citation -- just a blank screen.  Case dismissed.  

When asked if she feels better about this, Hall said, "A little bit. It's an all-day wait. Hopefully it never comes back up again. I got paperwork to prove it.  I will keep this the rest of my life."

Judge Withers says she's so serious about getting DeKalb County's troubled system back on track, that once a year she gives her staff a test to make sure they know how it all works.

CLICK ON THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE TO WATCH THIS FULL REPORT!

More Info:
DeKalb County Recorders Court
Address: 3630 Camp Cir, Decatur, GA 30032
Phone:(678) 483-8478
Hours:
 - Monday    8:00 am – 4:30 pm
 - Tuesday    8:00 am – 6:30 pm
 - Wednesday    8:00 am – 4:30 pm
 - Thursday    8:00 am – 4:30 pm
 - Friday    8:00 am – 4:30 pm
 - Saturday    Closed
 - Sunday    Closed

  • I-Team Story ArchiveMore>>

  • 3 easy options for checking your credit score

    3 easy options for checking your credit score

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:47 AM EDT2014-08-22 12:47:59 GMT
    Everybody is entitled to a once-a-year free credit report. But, it's always been a little confusing because if you wanted your credit score that goes with it then you had to pay. There are options out there.
    Everybody is entitled to a once-a-year free credit report. But, it's always been a little confusing because if you wanted your credit score that goes with it then you had to pay. There are options out there.
  • Dr. Commander cries on witness stand

    Dr. Commander cries on witness stand

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:12 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:12:43 GMT
    The man who claims to have thousands of Hindu followers around the world took the witness stand in his federal money laundering trial and broke down in tears.
    The man who claims to have thousands of Hindu followers around the world took the witness stand in his federal money laundering trial and broke down in tears.
  • Developer: Kenerly never asked for bribe

    Developer: Kenerly never asked for bribe

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 10:18 PM EDT2014-08-21 02:18:28 GMT
    Prosecutors considered him their key witness, a longtime Gwinnett developer given immunity to spill what he knew about corruption inside county government. David Jenkins testified before a Gwinnett grand jury in 2010. He also met multiple times with prosecutors. Those interviews were videotaped. Four years later, prosecutors agreed to a no contest plea bargain with former commissioner Kevin Kenerly on one count of bribery. He will serve 10 years on probation and pay a $10,000 fine.
    Prosecutors considered him their key witness, a longtime Gwinnett developer given immunity to spill what he knew about corruption inside county government. David Jenkins testified before a Gwinnett grand jury in 2010. He also met multiple times with prosecutors. Those interviews were videotaped. Four years later, prosecutors agreed to a no contest plea bargain with former commissioner Kevin Kenerly on one count of bribery. He will serve 10 years on probation and pay a $10,000 fine.
  • Contact the FOX 5 I-Team

    * denotes required fields

    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thanks for contacting FOX 5.  To reach our newsroom by phone, please call (404) 898-0100.

  • Good Day ArchiveMore>>

  • Back to School Jamboree with Hosea Feed The Hungry

    Back to School Jamboree with Hosea Feed The Hungry

    Hosea Feed the Hungry will host their annual Back to School Jamboree on Sunday, July 13, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Turner Field. Children will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.

    Hosea Feed the Hungry will host their annual Back to School Jamboree on Sunday, July 13, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Turner Field. Children will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.

  • Good Day Atlanta

    Pike Nurseries: Gardening in small spaces

    Pike Nurseries: Gardening in small spaces

    Friday, August 22 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-08-22 13:00:20 GMT
    Sometimes less can be more! A small space shouldn't limit your garden or your imagination—hanging baskets, containers, window boxes, espaliered fruit trees….they're all great ways to made a big gardening impact – even on the most limited high rise balcony!
    Sometimes less can be more! A small space shouldn't limit your garden or your imagination—hanging baskets, containers, window boxes, espaliered fruit trees….they're all great ways to made a big gardening impact – even on the most limited high rise balcony!
  • Kennesaw celebrates BBQ festival

    Kennesaw celebrates BBQ festival

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:52 AM EDT2014-08-22 12:52:25 GMT
    Don't worry...that incredible aroma of smoke-cooked BBQ isn't just in your imagination. It's coming from Kennesaw, where the grills are fired up for an annual tradition.
    Don't worry...that incredible aroma of smoke-cooked BBQ isn't just in your imagination. It's coming from Kennesaw, where the grills are fired up for an annual tradition.
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices