Dinwiddie judge dismisses tickets over docket blunder

Posted at 6:06 PM, Nov 29, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-29 18:50:55-05

DINWIDDIE, Va. (WTVR) - A snafu over dockets in Dinwiddie County General Court Thursday morning let over two dozen drivers with traffic tickets off the hook.

Sources told CBS 6 News this started after a clerk of Dinwiddie's Combined District Court sent an email on Oct. 18 asking deputies and troopers to not schedule traffic ticket court dates on Nov. 29, since the docket was already full.

However, sources said not all law enforcement received the memo and scheduled court appearances anyway.

As a result, Judge Mayo Gravatt started dismissing cases Thursday morning if the ticket was written on or after Oct. 18.

One legal expert pointed out that dismissals could open the door for people with tickets who prepaid their fines to request a refund.

One woman inside the court said she couldn't believe what was happening.

"He's doing it because the cops wrote it on different days that he wasn't supposed to. And he's just dismissing 'em," Samantha Bell said, who said she thinks what happened was "crazy." 

"I'll admit I haven't seen a judge thrown out cases because they told people not to set them on the docket that day… but a judge has authority to do it," CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said. 

Additionally, Stone pointed out that judges can obviously dismiss a case, but that a judge really should listened to both sides of a case before dismissing it.

Some traffic ticket holders are fuming because they said Gravatt did not do that.  And others said officers in the courtroom were visibly annoyed when the judge dismissed the tickets.