Nashville-Davidson Co Criminal Court Judge Div III
In addition to having jurisdiction over criminal cases, Criminal Court judges hear misdemeanor appeals from lower courts.
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What qualifies you as the best candidate for this office?
What are the most pressing issues facing the public that you plan to address?
What will be your top priority if you are elected and how will you achieve that goal?
My judicial record and experience qualify me as candidate. Prior to my appointment, I practiced for 17 years at the DA’s Office where I was promoted to Deputy. I’ve been certified as a Criminal Trial Specialist and was the first woman in TN to this certification. After an extensive vetting process, I was appointed by the Governor as presiding judge of Criminal Court, Div. 3 in 1996. I was elected by the citizens of Davidson County in 1998 and reelected in 2006 and 2014. Over my career, I’ve gained extensive knowledge of criminal law and procedure, including presiding over complex evidentiary issues and capital cases. I’ve demonstrated that I’m able to effectively, efficiently, and fairly run a courtroom. Bio at reelectcherylblackburn.com.
COVID caused a trial backlog. Although my Division never closed—even during the height of the pandemic—priorities shifted. I focused on jail cases to ensure that constitutional rights were not compromised and to reduce the jail population to lessen the spread of COVID. This was possible through videoconferencing, routine phone conferences, and limited in-person appearances. Jury trials, however, were suspended by the Supreme Court for more than a year. Emergency rules also limited the ability to address non-jail cases. Trial judges are obligated to work within a specific framework and are limited as to actions they may take, but I plan to continue to work with the bench and attorneys to address the backlog as quickly as possible.
Judges must demonstrate integrity, independence, and impartiality. My top priority is to continue providing a fair and impartial court where everyone is respected. Also to improve efficiency, I want to continue to utilize some procedures that the Supreme Court limited for emergency purposes. For example, in-person appearance requirements were relaxed. Using Zoom enabled witnesses and defendants to come to court without having to take a day off work and increased efficiency overall. Once the emergency was lifted the ability for criminal courts to use videoconferencing has been limited, I’m working with fellow judges and court administration to extend the ability to utilize innovative technology.
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