Keep My Smyrna Safe Vote No Political Organization: Facts to Consider About the Smyrna General Sessions Court

Feb 25, 2024 at 07:25 pm by WGNS

The following is from Keep My Smyrna Safe Vote No Political Organization

On March 5th, there will be a referendum on the ballot regarding the continuance of a general sessions court in Smyrna.

Here are a few facts to consider.

The Smyrna court system is completely self-sufficient according to their budget and does not rely on tax dollars to operate. In fact, the Smyrna court deposited approximately $140,000 into the town’s general fund in 2023. Eliminating the general sessions portion of the court would not offer a tax savings to anyone. It is widely believed dumping Smyrna’s general sessions cases onto Rutherford County would result in a tax increase as the County would have to hire more personnel to accommodate an already overcrowded system in Murfreesboro.

Currently, the Smyrna court system offers an extremely efficient system to provide police officers with E-warrants that keeps them in Smyrna only minutes away from returning to their assigned patrol. If there is no general sessions court in Smyrna, every arrest and warrant needed would result in a trip to Murfreesboro for Smyrna police officers. Unlike Smyrna, Rutherford County does not offer an E-warrant system as stated by the Rutherford County magistrate.

Smyrna general sessions court is currently held two days a week. Rutherford County holds general sessions court five days a week. Officers are required to attend court in order to testify before the attending judge. Lengthy stays in court every day of the work week is highly likely as an increased case load will only further slow the process in a system that is burdened with an exploding population.

The removal of general sessions court would dissolve the right to vote for Smyrna citizens in the selection of a town judge and court clerk. The current court clerk and judge were elected by Smyrna voters in 2022 and their terms would be ended in a fashion that is considered, by some, as a violation of the Tennessee State Constitution.

Conflicting savings numbers have been offered by court opponents. However, two different studies performed by the town of Smyrna, with the latest being in 2019, determined removal of the general sessions court would result in over $1.2 million in additional cost to the Smyrna Police Department.

For more information, check out the Keep My Smyrna Safe Facebook page at this link.

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