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."


Transportation Department Announces Several Lane Closures

Effective immediately, Norfolk Southern will be making repairs to the railroad overpass on East 11th Street between Douglas Street and Baldwin Street, and there will be temporary lane closures.  Police officers will be onsite to flag traffic through the area.  These lane closures will be intermittent between the hours of  10 a.m. and 4 p.m .  The project ... (click for more)

“Coffee With A Cop” Set For June 4 In Dalton

For some, a cup of coffee is an essential part of the morning routine. For others, it's an occasional treat to get the day going. Whether one is a caffeine addict or just an occasional coffee drinker, though, a cup of coffee can be the start of a great conversation and that is what officers from the Dalton Police Department are planning on June 4. The DPD will be hosting its second ... (click for more)

Cleveland Councilman Banks Critical Of City Manager Casteel, But Several Council Members Come To Her Defense

Cleveland City Councilman Richard Banks on Tuesday afternoon was critical of City Manager Janice Casteel, but several other council members came to her defense.   The council, at the end of the discussion, voted to establish an evaluation process for city employees.   Ben Moore, a retired pharmacist and life-long resident of Cleveland told the council ... (click for more)

City Council Looking Into Need For City Court

City Council Chair Carol Berz on Tuesday brought up the issue of whether, under its charter, the city is required to have a City Court. She also asked Assistant City Attorney Phil Noblett to look into the issue of whether the city is required to have two divisions of City Court. Attorney Noblett said he also will look into the ramifications of the Municipal Court Reform Act ... (click for more)

County Officials Need To Provide A Decent Animal Shelter

Once upon a time, a group of citizens concerned about the decaying building housing the Humane Educational Society on Highland Park raised their voices in an outcry about the deplorable state of the HES facility and the over-population of unwanted and unspayed/unneutered cats and dogs in Hamilton County.   What happened then was that the City Council stepped ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Two More Kick Out UAW

Woody Hayes, the great Ohio State football coach, used to teach his players to “paralyze resistance with persistence” but, my word, the likable theory has taken quite a beating in the past two years at the NTN-Bower ball-bearing plant in Hamilton, Ala. The workers there voted to decertify from the United Auto Workers union two years ago but getting the UAW out the door has turned ... (click for more)