Criminal Courts

Criminal Courts DivisionThe Criminal Courts Division officers are responsible for providing a safe courtroom environment for judges, court personnel, attorneys, and the general public.

Their responsibilities include protecting the judge, maintaining proper order in the courtroom and promptly obeying all lawful orders and instructions of the court. The ten (10) Divisions of Criminal Court are located in the Criminal Justice Complex, 201 Poplar Avenue. The ten (10) Criminal Courts combined handle on the average 207,378 cases and 27,860 inmates per year.

An average of fifty (50) jury trials per year are sequestered, which are high profile in nature. During these trials extra security personnel and equipment were added in an effort to protect the integrity of the courts and jurors.

The Criminal Courts Division is staffed by thirty (30) court officers, (1) one lieutenant, (3) three sergeants and (2) two clerical specialists.
View a Photo Gallery of Our Historic “Old Courthouse”

  • Division 1—Paula Skahan
  • Division 2—Glenn Wright
  • Division 3—Bobby Carter
  • Division 4—Carolyn Wade Blackett
  • Division 5—James M. Lammey, Jr.
  • Division 6—John Campbell
  • Division 7—Lee Coffee
  • Division 8—Chris Craft
  • Division 9—Mark Ward
  • Division 10—James C. Beasley, Jr.

General Sessions Criminal Courts

The General Sessions Criminal Courts are comprised of (9) Criminal Courts.. Divisions 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 15 handle misdemeanor cases; one (1) court handles felony cases each month. Felony court rotates among these courts on a monthly basis. No jury trials are held in General Sessions Criminal Courts. The General Sessions Criminal Courts also handles issuance of ExParte Orders of Protection and hearings on Orders of Protection.

Some courts are established to handle special types of criminal offenses as described below. All courts open at 9:00 am, except as noted. The Criminal Justice Center, 201 Poplar, houses all of the General Sessions and Criminal Courts

The Shelby County Drug Court, Division 8, authorizes drug treatment as an alternative to jail time for non-violent offenders. Under the guidance of Judge Tim Dwyer, the Drug Court keeps individuals in treatment, while supervising them closely. The program is a minimum term of one year. Participants are provided with intensive treatment and other services they require to get and stay clean and sober. They are held accountable by Judge Dwyer for meeting their obligations to the court, society, themselves, and their families. Participants are regularly and randomly tested for drug use. They are required to appear in court frequently for Judge Dwyer to review their progress and are rewarded for doing well or sanctioned when not fulfilling their obligations.

The Drug Court has graduated over 2,000 participants since its inception in 1997. Upon successful completion of the program, if eligible the defendant can have the case dismissed and expunged from the record.

Judge Larry Potter is the presiding judge for the Traffic & Environmental Court, General Sessions, Division 14. This Court has traffic dockets on Tuesdays at 9:00 and 10:30, Wednesdays at 9:00, 10:30 and 1:30, and Thursdays at 9:00 and 10:30. Environmental dockets are on Mondays and Fridays at 9:00, 10:30 and 1:30.

  • Frayser at Cunningham Community Center 3773 Old Allen every first and third Tuesday of each month at 1:30 pm.
  • Whitehaven Environmental Community Court at 4225 Airways Blvd., near the Airport, every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 1:30 pm.
  • Orange Mound at the Orange Mound Community Court, 2590 Park Avenue (Orange Mound Community Service Center), every third Thursday of the month at 1:30 pm.
  • Hickory Hill Court Community Center at 3910 Ridgeway Rd. 38115, the second and fourth Thursday of the month at 1:30pm.
  • Cordova Community at Appling Farms Precinct ,6850 Appling Farms Pkwy ,38133 the first and third Wednesday of the month at 10:30am.

The Environmental Courts hear cases involving four major areas of the law: Health Code Violations, Housing Code Violations, Fire Code Violations, and Building and Zoning Code Violations along with Public Nuisance cases. Code Enforcement inspectors and Memphis Police officers usually bring these cases to court.