An attorney general's opinion is being sought after an issue arose over the authority of the Hamilton County magistrates to hear cases involving municipalities.
Chief Magistrate Bob Meeks said the issue arose when City Judge Russell Bean inquired about the magistrates, who work the night shift, handling some city jail cases.
Magistrate Meeks said he did not know whether the magistrates had the authority to handle such cases.
He said, as a precaution, he directed that the magistrates temporarily stopping handling cases involving the municipalities.
Magistrate Meeks said that lasted about two weeks until County Commission Chairman Larry Henry directed him to resume setting bonds for Red Bank, East Ridge and others.
County Commissioner Curtis Adams said he learned of the issue when he was called by an East Ridge commissioner.
Commissioner Adams said, "They were having to wake up Judge Arvin Reingold in the middle of the night. There was no reason to just suddenly stopping setting bonds for these cities that we have always set bonds for.
"If we quit handling cases for the cities, that will be over 200,000 of our population we are not serving."
County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said he found a section of state law that he believes gives the magistrates here the power to continue as they had done before.
But he said the ruling is still being sought from the state attorney general.
Judges in Red Bank, East Ridge and some other cities in the county hear state cases, though city of Chattanooga judges no longer handle state cases.