“Questioning the Smith County Community Supervision and Corrections Department”
July 14, 2016
This is a combined entry questioning the Smith County Community Supervision and Corrections Department.
A woman from East Texas was charged with a crime, put on probation, and ordered to pay court fees — she did so for eight months. Once she started to do some digging, she found out her case had actually been dismissed before she was even supposed to show up in court. During this entire period of time, she was unable to get in contact with her court-appointed lawyer after trying to reach him week after week. As we started to ask questions to those involved with this woman’s botched case, there was a lot of blame being thrown around — but no definitive answers as to how this happened. To show the type of impact this had on the situation, the woman’s court-appointed lawyer ended up coincidentally contacting her the day after the story aired — for the first time in eight months of being appointed to represent her.
A probation office is a place someone should be able to go into and feel like they are in a safe place. When we discovered that a probation officer had been fired for sending an inappropriate text message to someone they had never even had contact with, we decided to look into the situation. We found out the only way this officer could have found the woman’s number is by finding her file — which he shouldn’t have access to — and looking up her number. This was the second story I put together questioning the Smith County Community Supervision and Corrections Department (CSCD), a department that forced another woman to pay months of probation fees for a criminal case that had been dismissed. After this story aired, many people in our area started speaking up about even more issues they had with the department.
Submitted by Jay Wallis.