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Judge Vows Quick Action In Improperly Filed Criminal Cases

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The Erie County District Judge's office in Corry, Pa.

Erie County's top judge says he's working on a way to unwind improperly filed criminal cases, a day after a report was released concerning a former district judge's practice of handling civil debt collection as theft.

President Judge John Trucilla said Friday "the numbers were somewhat staggering" in the report by the auditor general's office into the actions by former Corry District Judge Brenda Williams Nichols.

Trucilla says he wants to act quickly but isn't yet sure how the problem will be fixed.

He says it may be handled through an administrative order, so defendants don't have to hire lawyers to file expungement requests.

The auditor general's report says Nichols misclassified more than 800 civil claims as theft of services violations while serving in office from 2014 through 2017.