Judges sworn in during bittersweet day at Juvy Court - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Judges sworn in during bittersweet day at Juvy Court

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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The winds of change swept through the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County on Wednesday, where several administrative departments prepared to close for good as a new team of judges were sworn in.

The four new magistrates were sworn in to preside exclusively over cases at Juvenile Court.   The magistrates' goal will be to focus on expediting thousands of child support cases and speed up the time it takes a family to resolve issues.

"I'll understand both sides, both from the mothers perspective the custodial parents perspective, and from the fathers - absent fathers - perspective," Magistrate Nancy Kessler said.

Kessler also brings the experience of being a single mother who depended on child support to raise her three children.  All of the new magistrates have spent years as Juvenile Court attorneys.  Now they will move from arguing cases to hearing them.

"Juvenile court decides who pays and what amount," Juvenile Court CAO Larry Scroggs said. "That's what these new magistrates will be doing."

However, Scroggs described the new changes at Juvenile Court as bittersweet, because of an important contract the court lost in February.  After Tuesday, administration functions like enforcement and collection will be done by a private contractor.

Positions from attorneys to clerical staff will be affected, and an estimated 125 Juvenile Court employees will not have jobs after Tuesday.

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