Driving Under the Influence cases will take priority in a single court under an innovative plan implemented by the Davidson County trial courts this week.
The 18 trial court judges approved a plan effective October 15 that transfers first-, second- and third-offense DUIs, as well as all other driver’s license-related charges, to Second Circuit Court Judge Amanda McClendon. Previously, these cases were assigned to a criminal court hearing a full docket, plus the DUI cases, with assistance from other criminal court judges.
“We can accomplish more with existing resources,” Presiding Judge Joe P. Binkley, Jr., said. “Our strategy is to reassign DUI cases to one court to move them through the system more efficiently. This is a collaborative effort by the entire state trial court judiciary.”
“I look forward to this challenge,” Second Circuit Court Judge Amanda McClendon said. “Prioritizing the DUIs in one court helps the criminal courts manage their rising case loads and assures all involved in DUI cases a timely conclusion to their case.”
Previously, Criminal Court Judge Mark Fishburn presided over the DUI cases, as well as a full criminal case load, with assistance from other criminal court judges from time to time.
In addition to this change in procedure, order of protection cases will be heard by a circuit court special master with assistance from the eight circuit court judges. The two family law courts, presided over by Judges Philip Smith and Phillip Robinson, previously handled the order of protection cases, in addition to their full case loads.
“The individuals that worked on and crafted this plan are to be commended for their efforts to bring about change to improve the administration of justice,” Trial Court Administrator Tim Townsend said. “The judges, district attorney, public defender, clerks of court and sheriff worked together and figured out a better way to do business.”
For more information about the 20th judicial district state trial courts, visit www.trialcourts.nashville.gov.