Clerk, man charged with leaking search warrants to targets
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - An employee with the Clerk of Courts leaked information in sealed search warrants to targets of criminal investigations, according to a complaint filed by narcotics detectives.
Yakyma Boyd, 45, and Ernest Bryant, 49, are charged with two counts of tampering with records. Bryant was also charged with drug possession, drug trafficking and having weapons under disability.
Detectives said Bond and Bryant leaked the information for compensation.
"It's an embarrassment for the system of justice and I'm sure it's an embarrassment for the clerk's office," said Honorable Norbert Nadel, a retired judge.
Judge Nadel said he signed hundreds and possibly thousands of requests for search warrants over the years.
"Generally the officer will say 'hey, we don't want anyone to know about this, we want it sealed so we don't put the particular target on notice' and that's the whole purpose of sealing it," said Judge Nadel.
Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval issued a statement. He said Boyd is on unpaid administrative leave.
"If true, Boyd's actions are criminal and a violation of the public trust...We are taking immediate action to ensure all employees are properly trained on policies with respect to sensitive information."
Boyd's attorney, Clyde Bennett, said Thursday she has no relationship with Bryant.
"What I've seen so far indicates that the purported records that were concealed or removed were in fact, not sealed. They were never under sealed so that doesn't constitute a crime of tampering with records," Bennett said.
Criminal defense attorneys said Thursday that the allegations are serious and may damage the trust the public has in the clerk's office.
"I think the integrity of the clerk's office is called into question but I also think that as far as I can remember in 30 years, there's never been another issue that's affected the integrity of the clerk's office," said attorney Jay Clark.
Detectives have said Boyd and Bryant's actions jeopardized investigations.
"We can put officer safety at issue, we can put the general public safety at issue if people know the police are coming we could have bigger problems with it," said defense attorney Bill Gallagher. "Even though I'm a criminal defense attorney, we want crimes to be solved by the police and this can interfere with that."
Boyd and Bryant face three years in prison on each charge. More charges are possible after the grand jury meets next week.