KNOXVILLE (KRON & WATE) – A Knoxville great-grandmother says she was wrongfully arrested after another mix-up in the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk’s office.
The experience she’s claiming sounds like other cases 6 News has covered connected with the same problems that have led to calls for an overhaul of the county justice process.
people coming out of a courtroom talking about a woman who should not have been arrested then a woman walked out of the courtroom visibly upset and emotional. Local news station WATE reviewed the court documents and found that she was wrongfully arrested.
“It was bad. It was one of the worst things I’ve ever had happen to me in my life,” said Kruithoff.
That’s how great grandmother Virginia Kruithoff, 67, describes spending Saturday afternoon to early Sunday morning behind bars after she says she was wrongfully arrested.
Kruithoff was making potato salad for church last weekend when she heard a knock on her door. It was the authorities saying they had a warrant for her arrest.
“I could not believe it. I was in a state of shock. I felt like I was going to pass out. I was weak and nauseated,” said Kruithoff.
Officers told her she was being arrested for violation of probation. Kruithoff says she was taken into custody in front of family and fellow church members.
“That’s where they handcuffed me beside the police car. That’s when my other daughter comes down the driveway screaming,” said Kruithoff.
She says she was put in the back of the cruiser, which had no air conditioning or ventilation, and taken to jail.
“They took me over to this wall and stripped my clothes and everything and searched me. Then they took me to a bathroom gave me clothes to put on then they took me to a cell,” said Kruithoff.
Her brother paid her $1,500 cash bond. Kruithoff says she was released Sunday morning.
“I was so scared because I didn’t know what was going to happen to me, and how long I was going to be in there, and if I was going to get my daily medication. It could have been fatal for me at my age,” said Kruithoff.
Kruithoff shared details of her records with WATE.
She was charged with a misdemeanor in 2012 for a $32 theft charge from Walmart. Records show she paid all her court fees and restitution costs by February 26, 2013, over a year a half ago.
However, on the clerk’s office paperwork that the prosecutors saw, not all the payments are shown to have been made. Due to this error, she was listed as having to appear in court.
When she showed the court Tuesday she had paid, her $1,500 bond payment was refunded. Her violation of probation was also dismissed.
“The judge apologized to me and it was a clerical error that had nothing to do with the court. It was strictly the clerk’s office.”
Kruithoff says she hopes another mistake is not made causing someone else to end up behind bars when they aren’t supposed to be. She says she is seeking legal counsel and is considering filing a lawsuit.
Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey has not responded to requests for comment.
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