Monroe County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Monroe County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Monroe County.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
Mandatory Appearances in Monroe County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Monroe County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
Burden of Proof Requirement
In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Monroe County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
What is Jury Deliberation?
After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.
Arraignments in Monroe County
During an arraignment in Monroe County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Monroe County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Monroe County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Monroe County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Monroe County will take place at the Monroe County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Monroe County Criminal Court Locations.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
I need help for my Monroe County criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Monroe County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Monroe County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
Monroe County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Monroe County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Monroe County. The Monroe County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.
Monroe County Criminal Court Locations
Monroe County Circuit Court
Address: 105 College Street, Suite 103, Madisonville, TN 37354
Phone: 423-442-2396 Fax: 423-442-9538
Monroe County Chancery Court
Address: 105 College Street, Madisonville, TN 37354
Phone: 423-442-2644 Fax: 423-420-0048
Monroe County General Sessions Court
Address: 403 Tellico Street South, Madisonville, TN 37354
Phone: 423-442-9537 Fax: 423-442-6785
Monroe County Juvenile Court
Address: 403 Tellico Street, Madisonville, TN 37354
Phone: 423-442-1382 Fax: 423-442-6785
Madisonville City Court
Address: 400 College Street, Madisonville, TN 37354
Sweetwater Municipal Court
Address: 203 Monroe Street, PO Box 267, Sweetwater, TN 37874
Tellico Plains City Court
Address: 201 Southard Street, Tellico Plains, TN 37385
Vonore City Court
Address: 613 Church Street, PO Box 218, Vonore, TN 37885