Judge orders changes be made after 2 killers walk free using forged documents



ORLANDO, Fla. - Following the arrest of two convicted killers who forged documents and were mistakenly released from a Florida prison, changes are being made at the Orange County courthouse.

Before Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker fooled authorities into releasing them, people could walk through the doors of the courthouse and drop off pleadings and court orders without ever giving a name, showing identification or even talking to a human being.

Starting Monday, however, the rules have changed.

Forged documents that reduced the life sentences for Jenkins and Walker were left in a drop box, and some possibly mailed into the Orange County Clerk of Court's office.

"The boxes where people drop criminal court orders are taken out now," said Belvin Perry, chief judge for Florida's Ninth Judicial Circuit.

Perry's name was one that the inmates' had forged to get out of prison.

Now, anyone filing a court order has to talk to a clerk.  If the order is to reduce someone's sentence, it will also have to be verified with the judge who signed off on it.

"It simply means that you couldn't just walk in, drop an order in without someone knowing that you were the one who dropped it in," said Perry.

Once those papers to release a prisoner go to the Florida Department of Corrections, that facility will then have to check one last time with the judge to make sure the prisoner is to be set free.

In Tallahassee on Monday, the corrections secretary met with representatives of the Florida Court Clerks Association to talk about ensuring that every possible weakness in the system is fixed.

Jenkins and Walker were arrested in Panama City Beach late Saturday afternoon following a massive search by a number of law enforcement agencies.

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