The Community Prosecution plan places prosecutors out in the community where they can better understand and serve the citizens of Memphis and Shelby County. All cases from a designated area will be handled by the same prosecutors and same designated judges.
“The goals I envision include shifting a focus of crime prevention and intervention to the communities where the crimes are occurring,” Gen. Weirich said. “Prosecutors with background knowledge of a community, established partnerships in the community and the trust of the community will bring better results for the community.”
A Community Prosecution pilot program will start Jan. 3 with Asst. Dist. Atty. Carrie Shelton being assigned to the Memphis Police Department’s Old Allen Precinct in Frayser, one of nine police precincts. The area surrounding Old Allen is Shelby County District 7 under the sheriff’s jurisdiction.
At 201 Poplar, Asst. Dist. Atty. Neal Oldham will head a unit of prosecutors, victim-witness coordinators and support staff responsible for every arrest in the Old Allen Precinct and District 7.
This first Community Prosecution team is designated as OA7-CPU.
“We chose this Frayser-Raleigh area because of its high crime rates and because the area is home to diverse, grassroots community organizations that are working daily to bring a better way of life to this area,” said Gen. Weirich. “The community prosecutor will be building relationships with law enforcement, neighborhood watch groups, schools, businesses and other community-based organizations.”
Starting in January, criminal cases from Old Allen/District 7 will be handled before General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Gerald Skahan (GS9) and then before Criminal Court Judge John Campbell (CC6).
Courts with exclusive jurisdictions, such as Domestic Violence Court (GS10), Environmental Court (GS14) and Special Prosecution courts for repeat felony offenders (CC7 and CC8) will maintain all special cases. A prosecutor in each of those courts will be the designated OA7-CPU assistant.
Gen. Weirich said a similar model is being planned at the MPD Tillman Station Precinct where Asst. Dist. Atty. Greg Gilbert will begin working as the community prosecutor.
“What the Community Prosecution model recognizes is that geography is a major factor in the dynamics of a criminal case,” she said. “The commitment of the grassroots community organizations in Frayser and Raleigh brings hope to the community. I’d like to build off of that foundation and create an approach to prosecution that reflects the evolving needs of our community.”
For more information about the Community Prosecution Pilot, or to join in the effort, email email@example.com. (please enter "Community Prosecution" as the subject or call (901) 222-1503.