Errant Fax

Talk about an early Christmas gift for a group of newspaper reporters.

They are working hard trying to develop several stories, when this falls into thier laps (or more like into their "Fax Received" tray):

St. Clair County Sheriff's Department (IL) records clerk Joann Reed wanted a speeding ticket for the son of a deputy dismissed, but she didn't go to a judge or jury in traffic court.

Instead, Reed faxed a copy of the Centreville Police Department's ticket from the Sheriff's Department's fax machine to Centreville village attorney Carmen Durso, with a handwritten message: "Dismiss this case."

The problem is, she didn't fax the ticket to Durso. Reed accidentally faxed it to the Belleville News-Democrat's newsroom.

"Guilty. Period," Reed said after a reporter questioned her about the errant fax.

The three-page message, signed by Reed, included a notice to appear because the 18-year-old alleged traffic violator failed to show up for court. The new court date is set for today.

"The guy is the son of one of our deputies," was handwritten on the notice to appear.

Reed, who unsuccessfully ran for Alorton mayor in 2009, told a reporter that statement wasn't true. She was doing it to help out a college student. She only wrote that to make sure the ticket was dismissed, she said.

Though one number of the address on the ticket was omitted and the last name wasn't the same as the deputy, reporters discovered the ticket was issued to the son of Cerether White, a St. Clair County sheriff's deputy.

The Centreville officer who wrote the ticket on Aug. 18 stated the 18-year-old motorist, Jonathon Yates, was driving 43 in a 20 mph zone, a ticket that carries a $175 fine.

Durso prosecutes municipal tickets in Centreville, but said he can't dismiss violations of state law -- such as speeding tickets...

When researching this story, I saw that some theorized that the clerk may have faxed the information to the newspaper on purpose--acting as a covert whistle-blower.

 I say: "No way."

When acting as a whistle-blower and providing a news outlet with potential evidence on a criminal or unsavory practice, the last thing the individual wants to do is cast a negative light on themselves.

In this case, Ms. Reed will likely lose her job, and  raised the anger of every citizen in Illinois who has received a traffic citation in the last decade.

Certainly not the outcome that someone simply looking to report an unfair practice would desire.

Anyway, I am unsure who is more embarrassed here, the clerk involved or her boss--Sheriff Mearl Justus, who launched an investigation into the incident.

_____________________

Have a good weekend everyone.

30 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

Wow! Boy, did she make a mistake.

Suz said...

Heh heh heh.
Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Oops!

Matthew MacNish said...

I'm sure this kind of thing happens more than we'd like to consider. The only rarity here is the fact she got caught.

SuziCate said...

I think Matthew's comment is probably right...what's the saying "it's all in who you know"? Sometimes it's true in many sorts of cases from this type of thing to actually getting in to see a specialist for an illness.

Little Ms. Fun said...

Sometimes people don't think before they do. Especially us females..we seem to act more on emotions then logic. ( Don't tell anyone that I said that before I get some woman's right activist on my butt! lol)

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah I agree definitely not some whistle blower, just trying to back paddle and save her own butt. Always no where your faxes go..haha

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

what an idiot. But also, i like that fact that she admitted to it when asked.

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

That is funny! Some people are such goofballs. I'm glad she got caught ;)

terri said...

It amazes me that someone would abuse their power and connections to try to let an offender off the hook like that. Going 43 in a 20 mph zone? That's unbelievably dangerous. The kid is lucky that the worst that happened is he got a ticket. He should at least have to feel the pain of paying the fine. He could have killed someone, and then there'd be no chance of someone simply dismissing his mistake.

Brian Miller said...

woot....lol...guess that one wont be dismissed...love it when those in power get caught using it for their own benefit...

Rachna Chhabria said...

What a mistake, but these things happen. Have a great weekend.

JJ.in.Phila said...

Simply do things properly and you don't have this problem.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Whew, I bet she sure regrets that!

Christina Lee said...

Yikes! I say no way too!

Travis Erwin said...

I read about this too. Some people just should't mess with technology. Even old technology.

Ciara said...

Wow, that is a big oops. :)

Stephanie D said...

Wow. Now that's pretty bad...and funny.

A Doc 2 Be said...

Hey - I was going to write you but for some reason the link pops up a borked program on the puter.

Thought you might like this link to a story on missing kids from the same county, around the same town...

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/otherviews/132353858.html

Carol Kilgore said...

An uh-oh moment for sure. Is Sheriff Mearl Justus the sheriff's real name?

Happy Weekend!

Holly Lefevre said...

That is a big old mess. Although I know of a few stories involving kids/officers that are similar. Not me of course (no really, not me...but maybe my brother)

Shirley Wells said...

Wow. Sounds like the perfect Christmas gift for reporters. It makes me wonder how many faxes are sent for different cases that don't end up in the reporters' Fax Received tray.

Have a great weekend!

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
Another case of acute "OOPS-ISM".
Just a sign of our uber-technical times.

I agree that it most likely occurs a LOT more than any of us realize.

Almost as nice as having it rain Pulitzer Prizes...lol!

Good post & some great comments.

Stay safe out there.

Rachel Cotterill said...

Ooops...

secret agent woman said...

Instant karma got them!

kathryn said...

I'm imagining they're both feeling an equal level of embarrassment about now. But I'm guessing only one of them will lose their job over it. I can't help but wonder if she really acted alone...or was she told to do it??

Audrey Allure said...

What an embarrassing mistake!

Portia said...

Hey, have you been following the Lisa Irwin case in K.C. (my hometown)? I saw this and thought of your blog:

http://www.kansascity.com/2011/10/21/3222115/some-details-emerge-from-lisas.html

Happy weekend :-)

Portia

Momma Fargo said...

Whoops!

WomanHonorThyself said...

wow a long behind the scenes Slam..thankee! happy Sunday my friend:)