More Than a Decade of Incomplete Expungements Corrected

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Posted: 2016-5-4

Knox County Criminal Court Clerk, Mike Hammond, held a press conference to inform the citizens of Knoxville of a recent court records discovery.  Through customer contact, our courts recently became aware that certain cases existed where an individual’s expunged case had not completely been removed from all of the Court’s records databases.  Specifically, our office identified expunged Criminal Court cases where the underlying General Sessions Court case was not removed from the database.  When the Criminal Court case expungement was recorded into the Criminal Court’s database, the system did now allow for that entry to carry over to the related General Sessions cases and simultaneously expunge both cases.  Additionally, our office determined that some cases had not been expunged from all of the three court records databases.  After this discovery, an expanded search including both the Criminal Court bookkeeping database and the General Sessions Court bookkeeping and citation database was conducted.

At the request of our office, the Knox County Department of Information Technology, ran a series of queries which located 1,650 cases that had not been completely expunged.  Each of these identified expunged cases still had data remaining within one of the three databases.   It’s important to note that there would have been no practical way for any employee, encountering this rogue data, to have realized that the expunged case had not fully been removed from each of the databases.

After completing the research, our office organized a mass correction of the electronic record. The correction has been completed and each of the 1,650 cases are now fully expunged.

These process infirmities and errors date back at least seventeen years.  Although we are pleased to have identified this long-term process failure, our office cannot with certainty conclude that every case with incomplete data has been expunged.  I am asking that any citizen, who wants to inquire about a past expunged case, to please feel free to contact me directly at (865) 215-3455 or by email at mike.hammond@knoxcounty.org.  Our staff is on hand and prepared to research any case in question to ensure proper actions have been taken to fully expunge the case.