Shelby County’s General Sessions Clerk is in trouble with the Tennessee Supreme Court. Ed Stanton, Jr. is apparently refusing to expunge a case that was cleared five years ago and now a Memphis man says he can’t move on with his life.
The Supreme Court wants to know why Stanton has not followed through with the expungement of Michael Deangelo Lee’s case even after the 4th time orders were handed down to do it from the state’s highest court.
“This would affect tens of thousands of cases in Shelby County,” said attorney Michael Working.
Working is talking about cases like Lee’s, where after the Tennessee Supreme Court ordered expungement of a drug charge in 2015, Lee is still fighting to rid his record of it to this day.
“I’ve never heard of anyone who could disobey the orders of the Tennessee Supreme Court,” said Working.
Nobody from the Shelby County General Sessions Court responded to calls from Local 24 News, but legal records we obtained say Stanton’s office refused to clear Lee’s name because $50 in public defenders’ fees had not been paid to the clerk’s office.
“They’re the highest legal authority in the state and if they order you to do something, then by law you must comply, whether you agree with it or not,” said Working.
Working says he’s worked in several counties in the state and only Shelby requires the cleared person to pay up.
“In Shelby County, we continue to charge the indigent person, who we know has no money, and it’s led to several other problems with ongoing poverty here,” says Working.
There were eight representatives from the clerk’s office in Nashville Wednesday.
Because there are no rules on the books, they plan to submit new written procedures on handling files from litigants without attorneys in 30 days.