Judge orders public records closed

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (AP) -- The general sessions court judge in Carter County has ordered that arrest warrants and other court records are not to be released.

Circuit Court Clerk John Paul Mathes told the Elizabethton Star his office was not getting warrants and other paperwork that had been routinely sent in by the sheriff's department.

An order issued by Judge John Walton to the sheriff on Wednesday stated that all paperwork pertaining to the general sessions and juvenile courts were to come to him and one other person he specified.

Mathes referred questions from the Johnson City Press to County Attorney Keith Bowers Jr., who said he hoped the issue could be resolved Friday.

Kent Flanagan of the Tennessee Committee on Open Records said Friday judges must cite state law in seeking to close public records.

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