Person, Former Councilman Blast Commission Court Move 

Armed with support from a prominent former African-American official, Juvenile Court Judge Curtis Person issued his harshest attack yet on Wednesday against the Shelby County Commission for its ongoing effort to create a second court judgeship.

Speaking to the downtown Kiwanis Club at The Peabody, Person said the commission majority had voted to create another Juvenile Court judge for "political" reasons only and had caused serious "disruptions" in the work of the Court. "Employees have been assaulted, they have been demoralized, they have been discredited with misinformation," Person said.

"To have two judges at the Juvenile Court who have competing personalities and conflicting personalities will do nothing but result in chaos. Absolute chaos," Person said, going on to insist that "every major juvenile court in the state of Tennessee" had, like Shelby County at present, "one judge and multiple referees.".

Person countered the argument that Juvenile Court should have multiple judges like other local court jurisdictions by saying there were differences that made Juvenile Court "unique" - namely, several administrative responsibilities that are currently entrusted to the elected judge.

Defending his thesis about political motivations on the part of the commission, Person said, "I was elected with a 24,000-vote majority over the closest of my opponents. I was sworn in on September 1 [2006], and on September 6, the commission voted to establish a second court." He said he received no advance word of the proposal, which the commission majority (seven Democrats and Republican member Mike Carpenter) refused to defer - though minor proposals presented on the same day were deferred, Person said.

Subsequently, Person filed suit to block the creation of a second judgeship. After a temporary withdrawal of its action, the commission ultimately voted again in favor of a second court, and its action has been upheld in Chancery Court. Person appealed that ruling and has asked the state Supreme Court to intervene directly and hear the case. Ironically, the commission itself voted in a special meeting Wednesday to petition the Court for the same action.

After his remarks were concluded, Person got an immediate boost from Kiwanian Fred Davis, who was the first African-American elected to the city council back in the '70s. Noting his own involvement over the years in support activities for Juvenile Court, Davis accused "certain people" on the county commission of supporting the second judgeship for "absolutely self-serving" reasons.

"I'm going to hang with you on this," Davis assured Person. Afterward, the former councilman made a point of telling Person and several bystanders that commissioner Henri Brooks, a leader in the second-judgeship push who among other things has called for a Justice Department investigation of Juvenile Court, was "the biggest crock of crap I've ever seen."

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Shelby County Democrats to Revive

      Mancini forms group to begin reorganization for defunct local party; Cohen holds town hall.
    • Commission Gets It Together

      Consensus for medical marijuana; against school vouchers and county social media policy.
    • The Abortion Divide, Again

      An HIV prevention grant to Planned Parenthood is narrowly approved as the County Commission splits along party lines.

Blogs

News Blog

Task Force Wants Your Opinion on Riverfront

Memphis Gaydar

Trans Equality Rally Planned for Memphis

Fly On The Wall Blog

Little Gangsta Walker, Big Night: Dance at the Hard Rock Cafe

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Six.oh.xis

News Blog

Downward Cat: Yoga With Kitties

Hungry Memphis

Final Four Emerges in Our Beer Bracket Challenge

From My Seat

How to Fix Baseball

Tiger Blue

Houston 72, Tigers 71

Politics Beat Blog

Surprises Galore at Local GOP's Lincoln Day Dinner

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Jackson Baker

Readers also liked…

  • Filling the Space

    For all the in-fighting, we’re all looking for the same thing, and sometimes we can realize it.
    • Jul 14, 2016
  • The Buddy System

    Harris and Kelsey hope to effect a good public outcome on the TVA/aquifer issue.
    • Feb 2, 2017
  • Donald Trump's No Pussy: Jackson Baker in New Hampshire

    Win or lose, the New York billionaire has expanded and democratized the language of politics.
    • Feb 9, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation