- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A former deputy clerk in St. Louis Circuit Court has pleaded guilty to misusing official information.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/KzV2qk ) reports that Whitney Tyler, 28, pleaded guilty to 48 misdemeanor counts of misuse of official information by a public servant. She was placed on probation for six months on Friday.

Tyler’s attorney, Kristy Ridings, said that Tyler accessed a criminal justice database and state driving records. She checked on her own driving records and her father’s, and checked to see if friends had warrants. The inquiries had no connection to her job.

Tyler was arrested in September after the judge for whom she worked, Associate Circuit Judge Barbara Peebles, was suspended with pay by a state judicial commission for conduct that included abdicating judicial responsibilities to Tyler. The Commission on Retirement, Removal and Discipline said Tyler made a decision about a case while Peebles was vacationing in China.

The Missouri Supreme Court in March suspended Peebles for six months without pay for engaging in “misconduct.” A Post-Dispatch report prompted the investigation.

Some in the courthouse dubbed Tyler “Judge Whitney” for her handling of judicial responsibilities.

The Post-Dispatch investigation in 2011 revealed that a Tyler handled at least 350 cases while Peebles was on vacation in China. The newspaper determined that Tyler dismissed five cases in the judge’s absence, continued more than 300 and told defense lawyers there would be no bail reductions while Peebles was away.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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