Weekly Update

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As I told you a few months ago, we asked retired Judge Bobby Carter to review the operations in the criminal court systems at 201 Poplar.  He has submitted his report here. Below are some quick highlights. 

  • During the pandemic, “extreme methods of bail reduction and case settlement kept the system from being totally overwhelmed.”  This also occurred nationwide and was often cited as a reason why crime increased during the pandemic throughout the nation.
  • Criminal courts in Shelby County “have historically conducted upwards of two hundred jury trials per year.”  “In the fourteen plus month period of September 1, 2022, through November 27, 2023, fewer than forty jury trials have been conducted.”
  • “The slow rate by which trials are being conducted has resulted in a large increase in the number of cases that have been pending for two, three or even more years.”
  • “Cases do not get better with age.  In fact, the converse is true.”  Witnesses move.  Memories fade, etc.
  • Per a national report, “98% of felony cases should be concluded within one year.  Misdemeanor cases should be resolved within six months.  This is clearly not the case in Shelby County.”

Additionally, Judge Carter reviewed the cases of 89 people arrested in October 2022 for motor vehicle theft.  Below is the summary: 

  • 31 were released without charge or were juveniles (juvenile records are not public; there is no detention for juveniles for car theft)
  • 27 are still pending in court
  • 12 were dismissed
  • 8 were put on diversion (probation)
  • 3 pled guilty and received 1 day in jail
  • 3 pled guilty and received “time served” (giving them credit for the time spent in jail while the case was pending)
  • 5 pled guilty and received sentences of one year or more (under the current law, they probably only serve about 30% at most)

For months now, I have noted that MPD arrested almost 2,400 people for car theft and breaking into cars in a recent 18-month period and that it appeared that there was little to no punishment or intervention for those criminals.  The data is very hard to mine, but the judge’s review is further confirmation of what we suspected was happening.

A symbol to the world: Yesterday, we took a tremendous step forward towards the redevelopment of the 100 N. Main building as we held a groundbreaking ceremony to commence construction on the project.

100 n main

First and foremost, I want to thank Billy Orgel, Kevin Woods and their collective team for continuing to bet on Memphis. Thank you to Paul Young and his team at the DMC, Joann Massey and the EDGE team, the Memphis City Council and our City of Memphis team (Shirley Ford, Chandell Ryan, Andre Walker, Mike Fletcher, Cheryl Hearn, Carlton Osborne, Reid Dulberger and Dan Springer) for all the hours of work that have gone into getting us to this point.

The redevelopment of 100 N. Main is so much more than just bringing an old building downtown back to life. It serves as a symbol to developers in our community and across the country that Memphis is good place to invest your time, your talents, and your resources.

As the tallest building downtown and iconic piece of our skyline, it will welcome the roughly 40 million people a year who cross the I-40 bridge and remind them that Memphis is a strong and vibrant community. It’s why we have worked so hard behind the scenes with our team and with the developers over the last several months going round after round trying to find creative ways to make this project a reality.

For years, I can remember going in to the 100 N Main building for meetings or meals; it was a beehive of activity. In the near future, the next generation of Memphians will have the opportunity to do the very same thing and more.

In addition to that next generation, I’m also happy to share that I have signed a 15-year lease for the City of Memphis to occupy 60,000 square feet of office space helping to bring City employees not in City Hall to within walking distance of the building.

While I will not be in the mayor’s office when this transformational project is completed, I could not be happier to break ground on this transformational project.

Historic Melrose: This past Monday afternoon, we received a sneak peak of the renovation progress at Historic Melrose.


For those who may not be aware with this renovation, we will be constructing the first ever public library in Orange Mound, and the second phase will be senior housing on the upper floors. Overall, this is a $16 million project with $3 million coming from an appropriation from Congressman Steve Cohen. As always, thanks to the Congressman for his support.

This project will be transformational to the Orange Mound community, and as you can see in this video, the building is invaluable to the former students who used to roam its halls. I cannot wait to see the finished product.

Tech Savvy: Recently, Technology Magazine featured the City of Memphis, highlighting its innovative use of technology to support citizens. The article covers smart infrastructure, citizen engagement apps, and data analytics. Check it out when you have a second. It starts on page 282.

St. Jude Marathon Weekend: It’s that time again! I am excited to help host the thousands who will be participating in this weekend’s 2023 Annual St. Jude Memphis Marathon. It benefits the life-saving work of our own St. Jude Children’s Research hospital and serves as a great chance for us to showcase our city to the many visitors who come to support and participate in the race.

If you’re planning on traveling downtown this weekend, you might want to check out this site for road closures and everything else you might need to know about race day activities.

Enjoy your weekend!


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