Last week I posted on Nashville’s domestic violence docket . I had a chance today to go observe the docket. Here are a couple of my observations:
- The first court appearance is an initial appearance. No witnesses are subpoenaed. The purpose is to ascertain if you have a lawyer and to reschedule the court date. The time is too soon to determine if you have an attorney .I am hopeful the court gives more time for the citizen accused to hire an attorney.
- A representative from the mayor’s office was in the courtroom. Why ? Mayor Dean announced a domestic violence report last year . One of the goals was to reduce the time between arrest and the first court date.
- Nashville Bar Association failed the members of the criminal defense bar. It was my understanding that the NBA was contacted by the court to send a representative . No input was sought from the private criminal defense bar . Further there were no reports from the Nashville Bar association about what was being planned. It may be appropriate that another group be asked to have a seat at the table on criminal justice issues such as the Tennessee Association of Criminal Lawyers .
- The courts may be open to change or tweak the system after a couple of docket cycles.
No one likes change , but change is good .However , change should be evolving . The new domestic violence docket just needs some fine tuning.
One last thought. The Nashville Criminal Law Report is journalism . It collects , edits news and sometimes gives commentary on the news . It is protected by the First Amendment