Commissioner Balks on Cost of Juvenile Court Reforms

The Shelby County Commission's chair-elect says the county may not be willing to pay for the federally mandated overhaul of Shelby County Juvenile Court since they were not consulted sooner. "If, in fact, you expect us to help with a bunch of money, why would you not have included us in the process?" Mike Ritz said. The proposed changes, which could run into the millions of dollars, would create new positions, including full-time juvenile public defenders and a court-based disproportionate minority contact coordinator who would work to reduce the number of black youths brought to court, held in jail and transferred to adult court. DOJ staff attorneys are expected to return to Memphis this fall to work on a "comprehensive blueprint" with Juvenile Court staff, the Commercial Appeal reports.