You have court tomorrow morning. Suddenly you realize you don’t know where the courthouse is located. So you do what most people would do—you jump on the internet and search “Shelby County Courthouse.” That’s when you learn there are five different courthouses in Shelby County. Which is the courthouse where your case will be heard? Why didn’t your lawyer tell you where to go? What should you do now?
The Shelby County Court System
Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence. The courthouse where your case will be heard is usually dependent on the type of case you have. The following courts are located in Shelby County, Tennessee:
General Sessions Civil Court
General Sessions Criminal Court
Domestic Violence Court
Federal District Court
Different Courts for Different Cases
Most people have heard of 201 Poplar. After all, the jail is housed at 201 Poplar—at least for male prisoners. If you have a criminal case (in other words, if you might go to jail if you lose the case), you will likely be going to 201 Poplar Avenue. Also, if you have a traffic ticket in Memphis, a city ordinance violation or an order of protection case, you will likely be going to 201 Poplar.
If your case is a civil case (in other words, you are suing someone or being sued), your case will likely be in the old courthouse at 140 Adams Avenue. The good news is the two courthouses are located catty-corner to each other. If you show up at 201 Poplar Avenue and find out you should actually be at 140 Adams Avenue, it’s an easy walk across the street.
Evictions, Divorces, Car Wreck cases, Malpractice cases, Adoptions, Will Contests and most all other types of civil cases are heard at 140 Adams Avenue. A problem can occur, however, when more than one court has jurisdiction to hear the type of case you have. For instance, Juvenile Court has jurisdiction to hear certain child custody and child support cases. So do Circuit and Chancery Courts.
Plan Ahead for Court
It is best to plan ahead when you have a future court date. Don’t wait until the night before court to start planning for your trip downtown. Call you lawyer’s office and seek guidance beforehand. For a complete list of courts and the cases each court handles, check out the Shelby county official website here.