Last September , there began a shift in the procedure in how domestic violence cases are handled in Nashville Davidson County Tennessee. It has been almost six months  since some major changes have been instituted. It all started with a study from Mayor Karl Dean’s office on how to combat domestic violence in Nashville . Here is a summary of the changes.

  • The government has created the Jean Crowe Advocacy Center . It is located on the first floor of the Ben West Building. The purpose of the center is to be a place for alleged victims of domestic violence to go rather than going to court. It is a belief among some criminal defense attorneys that they can no longer speak with witnesses in the hallway to learn more about the case.
  • The General Sessions Judges have created a daily domestic violence docket in Courtroom 4B in the A.A. Birch Building. You get a settlement date within days of your arrest and then a trial date within 30 days of your arrest.
  • The District Attorney’s Office have created two positions that they basically go get witnesses if they do not appear in court.
  • There are plans for a special docket to handle jury trials for domestic violence cases . Again , the plan is to expedite these cases.
  • There are more assistant district attorneys staffed to handle these dockets.

Everyone agrees that the effects of domestic violence are detrimental to the person being abused and the children who witness the abuse. However , the police’s hands are tied on some cases. It has been a long standing policy that if Metro police respond to a domestic violence call an arrest must be made. What about a fair investigation of what happened ? Does every case need to result in an arrest ? I know the police are fearful of what might happen if an arrest is not made . It is a debate that has gone on for a long time of balancing the safety of the citizens verses the rights of the accused.