- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 25, 2015

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - The Craighead County Circuit Clerk’s office likely has been in violation of an Arkansas law that deals with juvenile court records for the last 25 years, according to Circuit Clerk Candace Edwards.

Under the state law enacted in 1989, the records must be expunged on a juvenile’s 21st birthday unless certain criteria are met, The Jonesboro Sun (https://bit.ly/1JjpP4q ) reports. Edwards told the Craighead County Quorum Court on Monday night that records should have been destroyed over the years, but that the office hasn’t been following the state law in doing so.

Edwards, who took office in January, said she learned about the issue after staff noticed the problem several weeks ago. It’s not the first challenge she has encountered since she was elected.

Edwards reported an illegal “coffee can fund” used to be kept in the office before she was elected to 2nd Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington and the Division of Legislative Audit.

She also learned the office wasn’t allotting the required amount of its revenue for technology improvements before she became circuit clerk. State law requires that about 25 percent of the money generated by the recording side of her office must go toward the office’s technology.

“It seems like every time I go to training something else is brought to light we’re not doing appropriately,” Edwards said. “There have been several areas where the office was not in compliance with the law.”

Edwards said staff in her office will have to pour through a large amount of juvenile court records to determine if they’ll have to be destroyed. She said she hopes to have more information for county leaders at the next meeting scheduled for Sept. 14.


Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, https://www.jonesborosun.com

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