New judge, same problems at DeKalb traffic court - FOX 35 News Orlando

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>>

  • Ray McBerry ex-employee speaks

    Ray McBerry ex-employee speaks

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:02 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:02:51 GMT
    A second young woman filed a Henry County police complaint accusing former gubernatorial candidate Ray McBerry of some bizarre behavior.
    A second young woman filed a Henry County police complaint accusing former gubernatorial candidate Ray McBerry of some bizarre behavior.
  • Mom confronts Ray McBerry over modeling request

    Mom confronts Ray McBerry over modeling request

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:04 PM EDT2014-07-30 16:04:32 GMT
    A twice-failed candidate for Georgia governor found himself face-to-face with a mother furious over what he was trying to do this month with her teenage daughter.
    A twice-failed candidate for Georgia governor found himself face-to-face with a mother furious over what he was trying to do this month with her teenage daughter.
  • Does social media make you spend more money?

    Does social media make you spend more money?

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 8:49 AM EDT2014-07-30 12:49:39 GMT
    The notion of 'Keeping up with the Jones' is not new, but there is a new pressure coming at you. Peer pressure - whether you're 13 or 33 - is a powerful thing. Now throw in social media and you have what an Atlanta counselor calls 'Keeping up with the Jones' on steroids. And if you're not careful that can get costly.
    The notion of 'Keeping up with the Jones' is not new, but there is a new pressure coming at you. Peer pressure - whether you're 13 or 33 - is a powerful thing. Now throw in social media and you have what an Atlanta counselor calls 'Keeping up with the Jones' on steroids. And if you're not careful that can get costly.
  • 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.

  • Taco Thursday with Buck

    Taqueria Tsunami in Marietta on Square- Asian Latino Fusion

    Taqueria Tsunami in Marietta on Square- Asian Latino Fusion

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:41 AM EDT2014-07-31 13:41:09 GMT
    What do you get when you combine the flavors from the Far East with the flavors from South of the Border? You get Taqueria Tsunami, a Latin-Asian fusion restaurant on the Marietta Square which just happens to be this week's stop on 'Taco Thursday...With Buck'.
    What do you get when you combine the flavors from the Far East with the flavors from South of the Border? You get Taqueria Tsunami, a Latin-Asian fusion restaurant on the Marietta Square which just happens to be this week's stop on 'Taco Thursday...With Buck'.
  • Big E celebration comes to North Georgia

    Big E celebration comes to North Georgia

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 9:40 AM EDT2014-07-30 13:40:00 GMT
    You know what the "Big E" is, right? Elvis! And the King is being celebrated in North Georgia this weekend! The 11th Annual Big E Fest and ETA Competition happens this weekend in Cornelia, GA.
    You know what the "Big E" is, right? Elvis! And the King is being celebrated in North Georgia this weekend! The 11th Annual Big E Fest and ETA Competition happens this weekend in Cornelia, GA.
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

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