» Subscribe Today!
More of what you want to know.
The Daily News

Forgot your password?
TDN Services
Research millions of people and properties [+]
Monitor any person, property or company [+]

Skip Navigation LinksHome >
VOL. 114 | NO. 32 | Thursday, February 17, 2000

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Comments ()
New Frayser court helps wheels of justice turn more quickly New Frayser court helps wheels of justice turn more quickly Theres a new court in town. This one is designed to help the squeaky wheels of justice spin more smoothly. The Frayser Community Court convened for the first time Tuesday with Judge Larry Potter presiding. Judge Joyce Broffitt convened her first session of the Community Court Wednesday. District Attorney Bill Gibbons said the court has been in the planning stages for more than a year and is modeled after similar efforts in New York City and elsewhere. The court will deal with "quality of life" crimes, including misdemeanors and environmental code violations, in an attempt to ensure more swift, visible justice. Instead of using only fines, jail sentences or probation, the court will have a choice of "alternative" sentences, such as requiring convicted parties to work on local projects designed to repay the community. Individuals ordered to perform community service will be required to wear a bright orange vest with "Frayser Community Court" printed on it. County Pretrial Services has been charged with supervising court ordered community service projects. The community court is located at 3134A N. Thomas in the Northgate Shopping Center. General Sessions Criminal Court Judges Broffitt and Potter have agreed to preside over dockets in the new court building, with Broffitt hearing state misdemeanor offenses and Potter hearing matters concerning environmental code violations. Misdemeanor charges placed by officers of the Memphis Police Department's Todds Creek COACT Unit mini-precinct are being routed to the community court docket. Community-oriented policing is a zero-tolerance approach toward minor crime. It is credited with reducing crime rates in large cities around the country by creating an atmosphere less conducive to criminal activity, Gibbons said. "By focusing at the community level on quality of life crimes, we can not only reduce those type of crimes but have an impact on the level of more serious crimes as well. This concept of 'fixing the broken windows' in order to prevent other, more serious problems has worked well in New York City and other major cities. It can work here," Gibbons said. The University of Memphis' Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice will evaluate the success of the project. The project is the outgrowth of a Memphis Shelby Crime Commission "best practice" study. A Citizen's Advisory Board has been assigned to advise court personnel about hotspots of criminal activity and community conditions. Assistant District Attorney Bart Dickinson has been assigned as community prosecutor for the part of Frayser being served by the community court, which is west of North Watkins to the Mississippi River. In addition to handling misdemeanor offenses and code violations in Frayser, Dickinson will be responsible for prosecuting juvenile delinquency charges and drug dealer evictions arising in the area. The grand opening of the court was preceded by a reception to recognize the organizations and people whose contributions made it possible for the court to open. The operation of the court is funded through a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Administration. Belz Enterprises donated the space in which the court will be housed rent-free for five years. Belz Enterprises also donated $10,769 toward renovation of the roof and the Assisi Foundation of Memphis granted $75,000 for the remainder of renovations needed to prepare the court. Other contributions include an unrestricted $10,000 grant from the Disabled American Veterans and a $5,000 unrestricted grant from the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary, Chapter #70. Support Services of Shelby County renovated the property.
PROPERTY SALES 50 389 12,758
MORTGAGES 21 248 8,003
BUILDING PERMITS 295 813 29,934
BANKRUPTCIES 35 164 6,064