Investigation concludes Hattiesburg court system incompetent - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Police investigation concludes Hattiesburg court system incompetent

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

An internal police investigation into Hattiesburg's municipal court has concluded there is a major lack of competence within the court system.

Hattiesburg police officials say the department's internal affairs division began its probe into the municipal court system after receiving a complaint in July. During the nearly two month investigation, police found the following violations: Truthfulness, assisting criminals, conduct unbecoming, improper association, withholding information, incompetence, rewards, and debt incurring payments.

According to the investigation findings: Several employees of municipal court were receiving rewards for dismissing tickets, fines, and warrants for defendants.  The investigation also confirmed there was inappropriate conduct between judges and court clerks.

The examination also uncovered that judges were signing blank court documents for court clerks to fill out at their discretion.  Plus, judges dispositions were being changed by court clerks in order to allow defendants out of jail or for reduced fine amounts. It was also determined that warrants and other court documents were being destroyed

Police also say during the investigation there was an employee who attempted to intimidate other employees in an effort to hinder the investigation. The report does not name individuals but says the findings were forwarded to city hall for disciplinary action. 

Sources say that one employee was terminated, while three others were disciplined.

Copyright 2012 WDAM.  All rights reserved.

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