Posted on July 22, 2020

Shelby County DA Announces Plan to Have Non-Violent Offenders Judged by Community Panels

Andrew Ellison, WREG, July 21, 2020

Shelby County prosecutors announced a plan Tuesday to keep certain non-violent offenders out of jail and out of court.

Under the new program, those offenders won’t face a judge. Instead, they’ll face a community panel where the crime occurred.

“So if it’s a theft case at your local mom-and-pop grocery store,” District Attorney Amy Weirich said. “The victims will be heard. The community will be heard.”

When it’s time to pass sentence, jail time will not be an option.

“It might be job training; it might be taking classes,” Weirich said. “Paying restitution to the victim. Writing an apology letter to the victim.”

Once the sentence is served, the case will be cleared from the offender’s record.

Each panel is made up of three members. The county is looking for applicants, and anyone can apply, even those with criminal histories.


Prosecutors are still deciding which non-violent offenses will qualify. {snip}