Changes are being proposed to Tennessee’s judicial districts have been reduced in scope, Coffee County would be joined with three other counties — a move deemed inefficient and unnecessary by local legal professionals. Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey unveiled a plan this week to redraw the state’s judicial districts, marking the first time in 29 years the process has been attempted. The scaled-back redistricting plan would cut the number of judicial districts across Tennessee from 31 to 29.
One reduction would be accomplished through merging the Coffee County with Warren, Cannon and Van Buren counties. The plan would have to be approved by the General Assembly before it would go into effect at the start of the next judicial term on September 2014. District Attorney Mickey Layne and Circuit Court Judge Vanessa Jackson said this week they see problems with the four county consolidation, and the end result will probably be lengthy dockets and extended delays in handling legal cases. Judge Jackson told the Tullahoma Board of Mayor and Aldermen that the changes could lead to a two- to three-year delay in having cases heard in court. Legislators, Rep. Judd Matheny and Sen. Janice Bowling have said they are in opposition to the changes and see no need why they are necessary.