DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - People who say they were wrongly arrested because of mistakes made by a court, plan to ask a judge to help them get their records to figure out how it happened.
Attorney Bill Atkins said he filed open records requests asking Judge Nelly Withers to explain how people got their licenses suspended and were arrested, even after they paid their tickets.
Channel 2’s Tom Jones spoke to one woman who says it happened to her.
“It was the most humiliating experience I’ve ever had in my life,” said Angelique Hill.
Hill said getting locked up for not paying for a citation she paid for was not only humiliating, it was embarrassing.
She said she tried to explain to the officer she paid for the failure to yield ticket at DeKalb County Recorder's Court.
“’I can show you that I paid this ticket. It has a citation number it has case closed.’ He was like, ‘No I don't want to see it. You're going to jail tonight,’” Hill said.
And she went to jail.
Hill’s attorney later found out the ticket had been paid and she shouldn't have been arrested. Bill Atkins found three others who went through the same experience.
The system said they hadn't paid their tickets when they had. Atkins said there's a flaw in the system at recorders court.
“I guess the question is how many people have to go to jail before you fix the problem,” Atkins said.
Atkins wants to know how many people have been wrongly arrested after paying their tickets. But he said the chief judge at recorders court has not responded to nine open records act requests to get that information.
“The court, this is a court we're dealing with here simply refuses to comply with their obligations under Georgia law,” Atkins said.
Hill said the judge needs to do whatever it takes to prevent this from happening to anyone else.
“There should be checks and balances in place,” Hill said.
County spokesperson Burke Brennan said the court has responded to the matter in compliance with the Georgia Open Records Act. He said the court would have no further comment because of pending litigation.
Friday, Atkins plans to ask a judge to direct the court to turn over records that led to his clients' arrest.
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