Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk recently proposed a change in the procedure for docketing misdemeanor domestic violence cases once the cases are bound over to the grand jury from general sessions court . Currently, misdemeanor domestic violence cases are assigned to the criminal courts based on the date of arrest . General Funk made the proposal to the circuit court judges and criminal court judges last week.
The plan is to assign all misdemeanor domestic violence cases to Judge Amanda McClendon . The cases will be presented to the grand jury within 30 days of being bound over by the general sessions court judge. It would create a rocket docket with domestic violence cases getting priority over the DUI cases Judge McClendon is currently assigned.
During his campaign for District Attorney , General Funk proposed cutting the time between when the case is bound over to the arraignment . His office is doing that by actively settling cases on information agreements. The question is whether the government should shorten the time an accused spends in jail to get his or her case back into court. For those charges with a crime in Nashville, Tn. that can’t afford a bail bond , a person sits in jail until the cases is settled or tries. It could be months until their next court date. should the District Attorney’s office focus on presenting serious felony cases to the grand jury first. The district Attorney’s office controls when each case is presented to the grand jury. I took a informal poll today among a few fellow criminal defense lawyers on the turnaround time between general sessions court and ones first appearance in criminal court. The general consensus is the wait is four to five months. Granted , that time is in large part based on the office policy in the prior administration.
Who pays for the cost of housing the accused while waiting for trial or to settle their cases ? The citizens of Davidson County pay the cost . Jail fees are assessed as court costs once the case is concluded. It would be a interesting fact of the amount of jail fees that are actually collected.