The Commercial Appeal

Resolved Bartlett case is like time capsule

Paper trail leads to expunging ’82 charge

- By Clay Bailey 901-529-2393

Bartlett court officials went deep into the archives this week to ensure a bad check charge dismissed against a woman 31 years ago also was expunged from her record.

The lack of action from the 1982 charge was overlooked until Bartlett Court Clerk Bill Lloyd received a request for informatio­n on the case from the Federal Bureau of Investigat­ion, which was doing a background check on the woman.

Lloyd said she apparently never requested to have the record expunged — a requiremen­t to delete the charge. Once the court clerk learned of the snag, he found the file and had the oversight corrected.

He is unsure whether the woman is even aware a problem surfaced with her background check.

Lloyd easily found the court documents in a small separate building behind the Bartlett Justice Center, where the records are kept in file boxes on shelves, The white box was clearly marked with a range of dates that included the woman’s arrest in March 1982. Lloyd said it took him “about 30 seconds” to find the file.

The paperwork associated with the case provides a backdrop of the suburb, the court process and how things have changed since 1982.

The woman, now 54, was charged with writing a $50 check from a closed account at Big Star grocery that was located near Elmore Park and Stage. The charge was dismissed within a month after she made restitutio­n and paid court costs.

The Big Star store is long gone from the shopping center where it existed in 1982. None of the officers listed on the court documents are still with the Bartlett Police Department, and neither is court clerk Peggy Morgan.

Unlike today’s computer-generated paperwork, the files from three decades ago were handwritte­n and later transcribe­d by typewriter. One document in the file was on ruled notebook paper.

The Raleigh Brook Manor Apartments, which was listed as the woman’s address, is now called the Abington Luxury Homes near Kennedy Park.

But through all the changes, renaming of locations and advancemen­ts in technology, there is one common denominato­r in the case: the scribbled signature of Bartlett Municipal Court Judge Freeman Marr.

Marr, 88, signed the original court order dismissing the charges against the woman in 1982. He was sitting on the Bartlett bench again Wednesday morning when Lloyd submitted the request to erase the charge from her record.

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