HomeNewsCity Court Clerk: If I wasn’t elected, I would quit

City Court Clerk: If I wasn’t elected, I would quit

Jackson City Court is expected to undergo an efficiency study, as recommended by the Jackson Code Committee. The issue was brought to the attention of the Jackson City Council in their February meeting, and a committee to look at the situation is expected to be named during the March meeting.

“Some interesting information I think was provided to us,” said Teresa Luna, chair of the Code Committee, during the City Council meeting. “Before we felt like we could make any changes in the code, which is solely our task, we felt like there needed to be some study done as to what is happening there.”

The list of concerns included operations, functions, personnel, technology, record keeping and economic impact. 

Luna recommended an external group do a study and see what the court needs. 

The Jackson City Court has General Sessions jurisdiction, which is unusual for a city court in West Tennessee. Most General Sessions courts are covered by the counties. The Clerk’s office oversees 14 courts and about 5,000 criminal and civil cases a year, according to Clerk Darryl Hubbard.

“The criminal matters Madison County handles through their General Sessions Court amount to about 2,200 charges a year. The City Court handles 3,700 on average per year, which is significantly more than General Sessions does in Madison County, but yet are doing so with lesser staff. That was one of the statistics that hit us,” Luna said. “Are we understaffed? What kind of staff do we need? How many do we need? That was one of the first issues.”

Both City Court Clerk Darryl Hubbard and Judge Blake Andereson were elected almost 25 years ago, about the time the court received its general sessions jurisdiction. Hubbard says since then, his office has not grown, and fully staffed would only have six employees. However, currently they are two people short, and recently hired two people. His longest remaining employee has been there four years. 

During the meeting, Hubbard explained his employees have to gather subpoenas, dockets and lists of inmates among other responsibilities for each court session. This has caused them to fall behind in processing expungements, court costs and fines. 

“The turnover is specifically because we’re short-staffed. At City Court, you can get arrested for making a mistake, and that’s just something that we need to rectify,” Hubbard said, referring to an employee who was indicted in 2020 for allegedly mishandling documents but was later found not guilty. “If I wasn’t elected, I would quit. It’s just too much work.”

Julia Ewoldt, julia@jacksonpost.news

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