MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Two Shelby County judges have an easy summer schedule. They don't hold afternoon court when the weather's hot. Meanwhile, other judges face huge back logs of cases. The not-so-busy judges could step in and help, so why don't they?
Shelby County courts are broken into different categories. But the bottom line, they are all judges and all have the ability to rule from the bench.
At Criminal Court, judges are so backed up trials are being set 8 months down the road.
Civil Court judges are also backlogged, according to Judge Donna Fields. "We have so many civil cases, so many criminal, we have to have multiple judges to answer all the cases," she said.
Probate Court is different. It handles wills and estates. According to the judges' calendars, last week each judge had just a handful of cases each day.
Probate Judge Karen Webster says they keep the dockets light in case something pops up. But that begs the question, is there a need for two Probate Court judges?
"I would think so; if there were one judge it would be overloaded and over-stressed," replied Judge Webster.
At Probate Court, from Memorial Day through Labor Day the judges go on what's called a "summer schedule," which is when the afternoon courts are closed.
Truth is with two probate judges having less busy dockets, why can't they step in and help out their fellow judges in different divisions? According to Civil Court Judge Fields, they can.
Truth is if this was a small county, judges would handle everything. Shelby County's segregated court system creates walls which result in one judge overburdened while another cancels afternoon court for the summer to spend more time with her kid.