Attorneys join judges to protest courtroom security proposal - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Attorneys join judges to protest courtroom security proposal

Shelby County judges shut down the courts again Wednesday afternoon for another showdown with the Shelby County Commission over a plan to use part-time deputies for security.

Representatives from the Shelby County Bar Association and several of its attorneys attended Wednesday's commission meeting to back up the judges, who say the idea to use part-time deputies instead of full-time deputies is an disaster waiting to happen.

It was is the second time judges came out to protest Commissioner Wyatt Bunker's proposal to cut costs by using less expensive security measures in county courthouses.  Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell crunched numbers, and said using part-time, retired deputy sheriff's would save $600,000 of the county's budget each year.

With the attorneys now on board with the judges, the proposal has double the resistance.

"They're saving money at the expense of our lives, and the judges lives, and the people in the courtroom," said attorney Marvin Ballin.

"I'm frankly not understanding who is in support of this," said presiding judge Chris Craft. "We were hoping that it would be voted down, but we'll all have to come back in a couple of weeks."

"I would have liked to have seen closure on the issue," Luttrell said afterwards. "Move forward or stop."

Luttrell has not taken a position on the matter.

Commissioners delayed their vote until the next meeting.  The judges and attorneys said they'll shut down the courts for a third time to be there.

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