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."


“Go Blue” Day To Honor Local Law Enforcement Planned For May 13

A special lunch event will be held at Miller Plaza on Friday, May 13 for “Go Blue” Day as a salute to the work that the City and County law enforcement officers do to serve and protect citizens every day. Free pizza from Little Caesars, free Coke products from Chattanooga Coca-Cola Bottling and free Frisbees with the "Go Blue" logo will be given to the first 500 people, including ... (click for more)

"Camp Buccaneer" Day Camp Launches This Summer

Boyd-Buchanan announces a summer camp for boys and girls called "Camp Buccaneer". Boyd-Buchanan will be offering 8 weeks of Camp Buccaneer this summer. "This child-centered day camp is a fun environment that focuses on giving children an experience to help them grow in their independence while building relationships. Our mission and environment make this a great camp for all ... (click for more)

Kevin Muhammad Says City Programs Failing; More Attention And Funding Needed For Impoverished Inner City Youths

Nation of Islam leader Kevin Muhammad told a packed house at City Council on Tuesday night that a large segment of Chattanooga is impoverished, while parts of the city are enjoying a Renaissance. Given 20 minutes for a "State of the People" address, he said many city programs are failing, including the Violence Reduction Initiative and a Youth and Family Services reading program. ... (click for more)

County Commission Told To Fully Fund County Schools Improvement Request Would Take 28 1/2-Cent Property Tax Increase; 78 School Personnel Would Be Added

County Mayor Jim Coppinger told members of the County Commission at a budget workshop on Tuesday that it would take a 28 1/2-cent property tax increase to fully fund the county school budget request. The county schools are asking for $24,218,919 in new money for a focus on workforce readiness, literacy and low-performing schools. County Mayor Coppinger did not say whether ... (click for more)

Marvelous News From Central High School

To Roy Exum:     With all the recent news of major dysfunctions within our educational system, I thought I might alert you to something better. About a year ago you ventured up Highway 58 to Central High School to represent your late grandfather, Roy McDonald, as he was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus during the annual Senior Day festivities. I sort of expected ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The DA’s Cold-Case Quest

It is clearly a job nobody can do for over an hour or two, but Neal Pinkston, working in hand with precise professionals from the county’s auditing department, is intent on doing the right thing. As I watched a revolving team of four people at a time open and study envelopes of autopsy photographs on Tuesday, the scene would have made a fascinating television documentary. But ... (click for more)