The criminal court process has changed recently in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. for the better. First, the back story on the change. Rutherford County, Tennessee, was sued in federal court for its use of a private probation company. One of the allegations was that folks on probation were kept on probation longer so the company could make more money in probation fees. The case was settled however some changes were proposed.
One big change is how probation works in the General Sessions Courts in Rutherford County. In certain criminal cases, there are probation conditions, such as an alcohol safety class for DUI cases or domestic violence classes for those convicted of a domestic violence charge. Under the current process, there is no longer probation once the conditions are satisfied.
Here is a recent case I handled and how we avoided probation. The charge was a DUI charge with a blood alcohol test way over .20 BAC. We were able to get a reduction to four days to be served at the DUI education center instead of the seven days consecutive in jail. We reset the case for six weeks in order to do the four days. While at the DUI education center, the alcohol safety class was completed as well as the victim impact center. We went to court later and entered the plea. The result was no probation. An agreement was made to pay the fines and court costs and no pesky probation. No reporting to a probation officer or no drug tests.
Other Middle Tennessee Counties should follow Rutherford County's progressive approach.