DAVIDSON COUNTY, Tenn. — (WKRN) — An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office, in conjunction with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, has resulted in the indictment of Clay County Circuit Court Clerk Susan Birdwell.
Birdwell was indicted in Davidson and Clay Counties on a total of 16 charges.
The investigation found that Birdwell photocopied a judge’s signature on expungement orders in at least 117 cases without the judge’s knowledge. Birdwell then submitted those expungement orders to the TBI to be processed.
Birdwell is also accused of retaining at least 497 expungement orders in unsecured places within the office. State law requires the clerk to remove and destroy all public records within 60 days from the date the expungement is issued.
In August, Birdwell met with investigators and reportedly admitted photocopying the judge’s signature was wrong and she did not destroy expungement orders as required by law. Two days later, she gathered two additional binders containing expungement orders and shredded all but seven orders. She did not inform investigators about those binders and made no attempt to contact investigators before shredding the documents.
Lastly, Birdwell improperly accepted a total of $8,464 in cash payments from citizens and then used her personal credit card to make online payments on their behalf to the Tennessee Department of Safety. The cash should have been deposited with the Clay County Trustee’s Office. Birdwell earned at least $169.28 in cashback rewards on her credit card because of her payments made to the Tennessee Department of Safety.
On November 10 the Davidson County Grand Jury indicted Birdwell for six counts of forgery, three counts of tampering with governmental records, and two counts of official misconduct.
On December 14, the Clay County Grand Jury indicted Birdwell for one count of soliciting unlawful compensation, one count of misrepresenting information to a state auditor, and three counts of official misconduct.
On December 16, Birdwell was suspended from office by Order of Suspension by the Honorable Criminal Court Judge of the Thirteenth Judicial District by Designation. Jennifer Louann Ritter was appointed to serve as Circuit Court Clerk Pro Tempore during Birdwell’s suspension.