Judge blocks Commission's efforts for second JC - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Syan Rhodes

Judge blocks Commission's efforts for second JC

The fight over who controls the Shelby County Juvenile Court heated up in a Mid-South courtroom Monday.

In May, a judge blocked Shelby County Commissioners from moving ahead with plans to appoint a second Juvenile Court judge.

Monday the Commission's lawyer was back in court asking that same judge to reverse his order.

"This is about taking care of the children who are over there or with whom that court is dealing," said Leo Bearman who represents County Commission.

The problem, according to Shelby County Commissioners, is that there are too many children that the current Juvenile Court System isn't dealing with fast enough.

"There's a big backlog of cases, there's an inability to meet 30 day requirements for delinquency hearings and we've cited all of that," Bearman said.

Opponents of a new Juvenile Court division question how big the backlog really is.

Commissioners wanted to create a second judgeship to help Juvenile court Judge Curtis Person with the load, but he said no thanks and took commissioners to court.

"This is not so much about the need for second judge, it's about how it was done," said Judge Person's attorney, Lucian Pera.

Pera says the commissions actions were unconstitutional because only the state legislature has the power to create new courts.

"If County Commission believes they need a second judge or six more judges as some have suggested they can go to the legislature," Pera said.

Judge Person's attorneys have appealed to the state Supreme Court and Monday afternoon Chancery Court Judge Kenny Armstrong refused to lift the stay he put in place May 23; preventing the commission from taking any action until the case is heard on appeal.

Click here to email Syan Rhodes.

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