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."


Chattanooga Poet Christian J. Collier Wins Spoken Word Fellowship

Chattanooga poet Christian J. Collier has been announced as one of the winners of the Loft Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship. He is one of four winners who were selected from around the nation. The honor will allow Mr. Collier to travel to several parts of the country in 2015 to perform as well as launch a few projects that he has had in mind. One such project is to create a spoken ... (click for more)

Highway Safety Office To Announce Traffic Safety Initiative For Thanksgiving Holiday

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) will join the Governor’s Highway Safety Office and leaders from organizations that serve local law enforcement officers to announce a statewide traffic safety initiative during the Thanksgiving holiday on Monday morning.  The announcement will be made in the gym of the THP ... (click for more)

Grote Hall At UTC Campus Closed Due To Sinkhole

A sinkhole has prompted UTC officials to close off access to Grote Hall. Grote Hall employees have been told they do not need to report to work on Monday. Classes that are held in Grote Hall are called off for Monday. All other classes and campus activities are on for Monday. (click for more)

Bradley County Police Investigating Shooting; Victim Dies

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting that occurred in the area of Georgetown Road. The sheriff's office said Sunday night that the victim had died. The victim's name has not yet been released.  A BCSO officer was waved down at the intersection of 25 th Street and Peerless Road by the driver of a vehicle who told the officer a gunshot victim ... (click for more)

Don't Be Quick To Discard Common Core

Let's not be too quick to discard Common Core. A recent article in the Tennessean on  Sunday detailed Common Core successes the Kingsport, Tennessee school system.  I encourage you to read it.  The article also noted that Tennessee was recently ranked as one of the fastest improving states in education after implementing portions of the Common Core curriculum ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UVa --Time For Change

The University of Virginia is, by any measure, one of the finest universities in the world. I have long admired it, whether covering dozens of sports events, cavorting with countless friends, or benefitting repeatedly from the surgical skills of the late world-class humanitarian Frank McCue. But today there is a terrible pall over “Mr. Jefferson’s university” – no, make that a ... (click for more)