Jurisdiction of General Sessions Court

The Metropolitan General Sessions Court of Nashville-Davidson County is often the public’s first introduction to the judicial process. It is a court of limited and special jurisdiction that hears civil, criminal, traffic, and metropolitan ordinance violations.

The civil jurisdiction includes civil lawsuits up to $15,000.00 except for Actions to Recover Personal Property where possession and alternative money judgments up to $25,000.00 may be awarded. The General Sessions Courts also have original and unlimited jurisdiction over forcible entry and detainer warrants involving landlord-tenant disputes and non-payment of rent.

The criminal jurisdiction includes conducting preliminary hearings on misdemeanor and felony cases and trials on all cases in which the penalty is no more than eleven months and 29 days. The Court has the authority to make determinations of forfeiture of property used in commission of crime and the issuance of search warrants. Since 1971, this Court has been authorized under the Metropolitan Charter to handle Metropolitan ordinance violations involving traffic, environmental, and other county ordinance violations.

The General Sessions Mental Health Court is administered under the direction of Judge Melissa Blackburn, Division II. The purpose of this court is to decrease the amount of jail time for the mentally challenged and coordinate effective treatment intervention upon case adjudication by the Court.

The General Sessions Recovery Court is administered under the direction of Judge Gale Robinson. This court is a program in which offenders participate in a phase program with intensive treatment with the goal of making defendants accountable for their own actions, thus bringing about behavior change.