The 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 handled 280,361 cases and 27,003 inmates in 2006.
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.
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In 2006, these courts handled 304,224 cases and brought 60,228 inmates before the court.
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 handle 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. Under the guidance of Judge Tim Dwyer, the Drug Court utilizes an organized approach to referring treatment and diversion alternatives. Defense attorneys, prosecuting attorneys, pretrial probation counselors, as well as drug treatment counselors monitor defendants in this courtroom. Defendants must appear before the Judge on a regular basis.
The Drug Court's year-long, diversion program has graduated over 500 eligible drug offenders since its inception in 1997. Upon successful completion of the program, a defendant can look forward to a life free of drugs and crime. Their criminal case is dismissed and expunged from their 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.
- Millington area at the Millington Environmental Community Court, located at 7950 Memphis Avenue, Millington, TN. This court meets on the first Thursday of every month at 2:00pm.
- Frayser Community at 3134 N. Thomas (Northgate Shopping Center) 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 area at the Orange Mound Community Court, 2590 Park Avenue (Orange Mound Community Service Center), every second and fourth Thursday of the month at 1:30 pm.
- Arlington/Lakeland located at 5854 Airline Rd. Arlington, TN on the third Thursday of each month at 2:00 pm.
- Hickory Hill Court soon to be established.
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.