- General Sessions Court covers the disposition of both state and civil cases.
- The state cases that fall under sessions court jurisdiction include misdemeanors, traffic violations, DUI's and non-felony domestic violence cases, among others. For more information call 423-788-1425.
- The Civil cases that fall under Sessions Court jurisdiction include general civil issues, detainers and orders of protection, among others. For information on Civil court, call 423-788-1481.
- The Judges who hear Sessions Court cases include Robert Lincoln and Janet Vest Hardin. Judges Hardin and Lincoln also serve as the county's Juvenile Judges.
A Model Solution: Mental Health Court
In 2007, working together with other key figures in the local court system, judges Lincoln and former Judge James Nidiffer established what has become an award-winning model for dealing with the unique problems courts face in working with mental health issues.
It started as a six-month pilot program involving:
- Frontier Health
- Johnson City Police Department and Washington County Sheriff's Department
- The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
- The Public Defenders and District Attorneys offices
- Washington County Sessions Court
The effort was billed as an attempt "to address the criminalization of individuals with mental issues." The program created guidelines that must be met for people to qualify for the mental health court, after which the aim is to insure that they receive a treatment plan. They then meet with case managers and are given the opportunity to follow through on care that can help them resolve issues that contributed to their criminal charges.
The program was successful and funding has continued to the present. People who successfully complete the program have their charges dropped, court fines suspended and records expunged.
To check the status of an upcoming Sessions Court case, please contact the Clerk at 423-788-1425.