12-12-05 - Wal-Mart is making some changes, and it could impact local courts and their bottom line.
Wal-Mart recently changed their hot check policy. They'll no longer rely on local county attorneys’ offices or district attorneys’ offices to collect on hot check fines. Instead, they'll use a private company.
In Carter, Love and Marshall Counties, the district attorney says Wal-Mart's decision could cost his office anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000 a year because Wal-Mart is their biggest retailer.
Mitch Sperry told us he could see around a dozen layoffs in his office alone, but in Fannin County the justice of the peace handles many bogus check cases. One judge says he's not worried about the policy change.
Judge Joe Dale, Fannin County, Precinct 1, says, "Wal-Mart is just another citizen as far as this court is concerned. They come and bring us their checks in to file them and we process them, and if they file them the law says we can take them and get them processed."
A spokesperson for Wal-Mart says the change in policy was made to streamline their operations. Any business has the right to file with the agency or company of their choice.