An unknown number of misdemeanor offenders in Williamson County may get a break on their court mandated penalties due to a mistake with the paperwork.
Officials told Nashville's News 2 Investigates the problem stems from someone other than a general sessions judge signing the warrants in question.
Franklin defense attorney David Veile first noticed the discrepancy in one of his client's cases, involving a misdemeanor drug case.
According to court documents, in June 2012, the now 19-year-old Kyla Smith was sentenced to supervised probation after being convicted on minor drug charges.
However in March of this year, court records indicate Smith violated the terms of her probation after she allegedly tested positive for marijuana use.
Despite violating the terms of her probation, Smith will not be sentenced to the remainder of her sentence since someone other than a general sessions judge signed her probation violation warrant.
According to the motion to dismiss the probation violation warrant filed by Veile, “The probation violation warrant was not signed by the judge of this court rather name of the trial judge was marked through and the name Fatima Robertson was written in. The signature of Fatima Robertson appears on the signature line of the probation violation warrant.”
Nashville's News 2 Investigates has since learned that Fatima Robertson, the person who signed the warrant, is Judge Al Nations' administrative assistant and also a judicial commissioner.
“For whatever reason the wrong person was signing the warrants. I don't have an indication as to how long this went on,” Williamson County District Attorney General Kim Helper said, adding, “Once it was brought to the attention of the court, all the steps that were necessary were taken.”
Helper added there is multiple cases like Smith's that the court is evaluating and that it remains unclear how many cases are affected by the invalid warrants.
However, according to Helper, the majority of defendants will simply have their warrants signed by a judge and the cases will continue as normal.
Nashville's News 2 Investigates reached out to the judge's office for comment; however we were told a comment could not be issued because of pending cases.