Judge Sell Says Mental Health Court Is In The Works

Friday, June 27, 2014 - by Hollie Webb

General Sessions Court Judge Christie Mahn Sell announced to the Chattanooga Civitan Club Friday afternoon that a mental health court was in the works for Hamilton County.

She said, "I'm very excited about this mental health court. I think it's going to be one of the biggest improvements on the court system." 

She told the club that currently, many people with mental health problems are constantly in a cycle of arrest and release for charges such as public intoxication and criminal trespassing.

She said a mental health court would provide them access to resources that would hopefully help break this cycle.

Also, she said, many of these people cannot afford to pay to bond out of jail. A program like a mental health court would allow them to see a judge sooner. 

Judge Sell said that Nashville was one of the first cities in the entire country to create a mental health court and that it has drastically cut costs on the county and city.

Another program Judge Sell helped create was the Domestic Violence Court. Currently in place, victims of domestic violence now have access to an advocate at the courthouse. They also can stay in a separate room where they do not have to face the defendant until the judge is ready to hear the case. 

Hamilton County received grant money to create the Domestic Violence Court as well as to start a Family Justice Center. The center would give domestic violence victims and their families a place to go where they could have access to any kind of help they needed, from mental to legal.

She said centers like these are "usually just in the largest metropolitan areas. Well that's not the only place where these problems are occurring." 

In fact, Judge Sell said Hamilton County was "number three on domestic violence homicides."

She told the club, "I think it's important for you to know that we're not just taking cases...It's getting out in the community, looking at what other communities are doing."


Be A Mentor And Take 12 Info Event Set For April 9

Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, TVA, the Want To Foundation, Brainerd High School and the Baylor School are looking for Chattanoogans who are willing to  “Be and Mentor and Take 12.” There are 8,736 hours in a calendar year and this program is about taking 12 of those, one a month, to mentor a Chattanooga student.    The organizers of “Be a Mentor ... (click for more)

Playcore Begins Construction On New Collegedale Playground

Playcore, the Chattanooga-based contractor for the new playground at Collegdale has begun construction. The 7,000-square-foot, handicapped-accessible, ultra modern playground should be finished in mid-June, weather permitting. (click for more)

Officials Expect MLK Boulevard Mural To Be Big Draw; Artist Apprentices To Be Hired For Project

Officials said Tuesday they expect a massive mural planned on a tall MLK Boulevard building by a renowned muralist will be a big draw for the area. City Councilman Moses Freeman said, "This is going to be a destination point. People are going to come here to see it. I guarantee it." He added, "She's world-renowned. We're going to be famous by having her work here." The ... (click for more)

Haslam Adds K-12 Funds In Budget Amendment

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam on Tuesday unveiled additions to the FY 2015-2016 budget that will be considered by the General Assembly in the coming weeks, including added funding for K-12. The governor last week met with school superintendents from the largest systems in the state over the issue of state funding for K-12. The next day, the Hamilton County Schools joined ... (click for more)

Physicians Thank Their Patients On Doctor’s Day

March 30 has been set aside as National Doctors’ Day since 1933 as a time to recognize the contributions made by our physicians. While the recognition is appreciated, our greatest satisfaction comes from caring for our patients.  For 132 years, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society has been the physicians’ voice as we worked together to improve health of our community. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Look At My April Garden

On this April Fool’s Day, as I take my monthly stroll through my virtual garden, there are gorgeous flowers and there are weeds, which appear to be trying harder than the flowers. So let’s see what we find before searching for “The Prize Egg” on Sunday. A FLOWER to the New York cab driver who told a young writer, “Always remember that everyone you meet knows something that you ... (click for more)