sullivan county general sessions court kingsport

Sullivan County General Sessions Court – Kingsport

Table of Contents

contact information for Sullivan County General Sessions Court in Kingsport, Tennessee:

Kingsport Justice Center

Address: 200 Shelby Street, Kingsport, TN 37660

Phone: 423-224-1711

Fax: 423-224-1766

Overview of Sullivan County General Sessions Court – Kingsport

The Sullivan County General Sessions Court – Kingsport is a court of limited jurisdiction handling civil disputes and minor criminal cases in Sullivan County, Tennessee. General sessions courts are found in each county in Tennessee and serve an important role as the “people’s court” by providing citizens with access to swift and efficient justice for common legal matters. Read on to learn about the history, jurisdiction, operations, services, impact, and resources of this vital component of the state’s judicial system.

History of the Sullivan County General Sessions Court

When it was established

The Sullivan County General Sessions Court was established in 1965 as part of a statewide reorganization of lower courts in Tennessee. Prior to this, county courts handled minor civil and criminal cases. The creation of general sessions courts was intended to provide a more structured judicial system and consistent administration of justice across the state.

Important milestones

Over the years, the Sullivan County General Sessions Court expanded access to justice by adding a small claims division in 1985. This allowed citizens to resolve minor civil disputes quickly and affordably without needing attorneys. The court also implemented alternative dispute resolution programs like mediation in the 1990s to promote faster case resolutions.

Jurisdiction and Powers of the Sullivan County General Sessions Court

Civil jurisdiction

The Sullivan County General Sessions Court handles a wide range of civil litigation. This includes contract disputes, personal injury cases, landlord-tenant issues, small claims up to $25,000, and more. General sessions courts provide a user-friendly venue for citizens to resolve common legal problems cost-effectively.

Criminal jurisdiction

For criminal cases, the Sullivan County General Sessions Court is authorized to preside over misdemeanor offenses, preliminary hearings in felony cases, and traffic violations. Misdemeanor crimes like DUIs, simple assault, petty theft, and vandalism are tried before general sessions judges rather than going through felony courts.

Geographic jurisdiction

The Sullivan County General Sessions Court holds jurisdiction over cases arising within Sullivan County. Its courthouse is located in Kingsport to serve the citizens of that city as well as surrounding communities. The court’s jurisdiction is limited to the boundaries of Sullivan County.

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Structure and Operations of the Sullivan County General Sessions Court

Judges and court officials

The Sullivan County General Sessions Court has an elected General Sessions Judge who presides over the court. The judge handles case proceedings, makes rulings, and helps ensure the fair administration of justice. The court also has a General Sessions Clerk responsible for court records, paperwork, and administrative matters.

Court sessions and calendar

Court is held during regular business hours Monday through Friday. The court holds dockets several times a week to handle its large caseload efficiently. Schedules vary but commonly include misdemeanor criminal sessions, civil dockets, small claims hearings, and traffic court. The court calendar is published online for convenience.

Typical proceedings and cases

A wide variety of legal disputes are resolved through the Sullivan County General Sessions Court. On a typical day, the judge may hear cases like landlord evictions, contract disputes between businesses, misdemeanor assaults, and traffic offenses. Proceedings are generally less formal than higher courts. Individuals can represent themselves, and the focus is on timely case resolution.

Special Programs and Services of the Sullivan County General Sessions Court

Alternative dispute resolution

To provide quick and amicable case resolutions, the Sullivan County General Sessions Court offers alternative dispute resolution through mediation and arbitration. These voluntary programs allow participants significant control over the outcome. Mediation involves an impartial third party helping litigants negotiate a settlement. Arbitration is more like a trial with the arbitrator ultimately making a binding decision.

Mental health court

The Sullivan County General Sessions Court runs a mental health court providing supervised treatment and community resources to certain offenders with mental illnesses. This innovative approach aims to address underlying mental health needs rather than merely imposing punishment through the traditional justice system.

Veterans court

Veterans court follows a similar model but focuses specifically on rehabilitation of veterans struggling with substance abuse, PTSD, and other military-related issues. By considering a veteran defendant’s unique circumstances and challenges, the court crafts solutions that help them avoid future criminal activity.

Impact and Significance of the Sullivan County General Sessions Court

Impact on the local community

The Sullivan County General Sessions Court has a tremendous impact on locals by providing affordable and accessible court services to all. For many citizens, it is the only interaction they will have with the judicial system in their lifetimes. The court’s fair rulings help maintain law, order, and confidence in the justice system.

Role in the overall Tennessee court system

As part of the larger state court system, the Sullivan County General Sessions Court handles a huge volume of Tennessee’s legal disputes. General sessions courts across Tennessee collectively hear over one million cases every year. By resolving minor issues, these courts allow higher courts and judges to focus their time and resources on more complex civil litigation and felony criminal matters.

Contact Information and Resources for the Sullivan County General Sessions Court

Location and contact details

The Sullivan County General Sessions Court is located at 245 E. Main Street, Kingsport, TN 37660. It can be contacted by phone at 423-279-2715. More information is available on the Sullivan County government website.

Website and online resources

The court’s website at provides useful information to the public, including court schedules, forms and documents, fee schedules, and contact information. Many resources are also available on Tennessee’s centralized court website at

Getting additional help and information

Citizens who need legal guidance or have questions can always contact the Sullivan County General Sessions Court Clerk’s office during business hours. The court staff is available to point people in the right direction. Citizens can also consult with legal aid groups, public defenders, or private attorneys for assistance.

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Sullivan County General Sessions Court – Kingsport Online Court Resources

This guide provides an overview of online court records and legal resources available for the Sullivan County General Sessions Court – Kingsport. It includes options for accessing Sullivan County case records, court forms, online fine payments, self-help information, and assistance finding legal aid. Resources for researching laws, rules, and opinions are also provided.

Online Court Resources in Tennessee

The website for the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) provides links to online services and information for courts across the state. Resources found on the AOC site include:

  • Court case record searches
  • Published opinions and orders
  • Court rules
  • Forms for court filings statewide
  • Information on court programs and services

The Self Help Center on the AOC website also provides information and resources specific to General Sessions Courts.

Online Resources Specific to Sullivan County General Sessions Court – Kingsport

Search Court Case Records

The Sullivan County Circuit Court Clerk website allows online searches of Sullivan County Circuit, Criminal, Chancery, and General Sessions Court records. Use the drop-down menu at the top of the page to select the court and case type to search. “Circuit Court” includes both Circuit and Criminal cases.

Published Opinions and Orders

Appellate opinions from the Tennessee Attorney General can be searched or browsed online back to 2000. These include opinions that may impact rulings by local General Sessions Courts.

Court Forms

Standard Tennessee court forms approved for use in General Sessions Courts across the state can be viewed and downloaded. Form categories include civil, juvenile, family law, and criminal/traffic matters.

Online Fine Payments

Individuals can pay eligible fines online for the Sullivan County Circuit Court and General Sessions Court. A fee applies for online payments.

General Legal Resources

Self Help and Legal Research

The East Tennessee Legal Information website from Legal Aid of East Tennessee provides legal information on family, housing, consumer, and other civil law matters, in both English and Spanish. Their “Anytime Attorney” videos cover common legal issues and court proceedings.

Information on Child Support

The Tennessee Department of Human Services Child Support Services division provides information and assistance with child support cases. Resources include guidelines and calculators, frequently asked questions, and the ability to make payments online.

Court Rules

Current versions of court rules for Tennessee can be viewed on the Administrative Office of the Courts website. This includes statewide rules of civil, criminal, and appellate procedure, along with links to local court rules.

Foreclosure Prevention

Homeowners facing foreclosure can view information on assistance programs, local housing counseling services, legal aid resources, and alternatives to foreclosure.

Juvenile Court Information

Answers to frequently asked questions provide information related to juvenile court proceedings, including abuse and neglect cases, and work of Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Recovery Courts

Recovery Courts are specialized programs that handle cases involving substance abuse and mental health issues. Descriptions of the various types of recovery courts and a directory of programs are provided.

Consumer Protection

The Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs offers information on consumer rights, common scams, filing complaints, and submitting consumer questions.

Driver License Information

Resources are available on requirements related to driver licensing, including reinstatement following suspension or revocation.

Legal and Court Information

General information is provided on the court system and legal process in Tennessee. Topics covered include an overview of court types and structure, legal terms, finding lawyers, alternatives to court, and links to local resources.

Legal Information and Resources

This site provides answers to common legal questions and self-help information by topic, covering areas such as family law, landlord-tenant, elder law, and bankruptcy.

Mediation and ADR

Information is available on alternative dispute resolution options in Tennessee. Mediator profiles can be searched and common ADR methods are described.

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Self Help Center

The Tennessee Self Help Center provides information and resources on legal issues related to family law, criminal and traffic cases, small claims, and other general sessions court matters. Links at the top provide legal services referrals.

Self-Help Resources

Self-help booklets, videos, court forms, and instructions are available from Southeast Tennessee Legal Services. Topics include family law, debt collection, landlord-tenant, and consumer issues.

Tennessee Laws

The Tennessee Code can be searched by keyword or browsed by title for laws related to a specific legal issue or case.

Legal Aid and Assistance

Local Public Defender

Contact information is provided for the Public Defender office handling indigent criminal defense services in Sullivan County.

Legal Aid of East TN

Legal Aid of East Tennessee provides free civil legal help to low-income residents of Sullivan County and 25 other counties in East Tennessee. They handle family, housing, consumer cases, and cases of elder abuse.

Attorney Discipline

Records of public discipline against attorneys licensed in Tennessee can be searched or browsed from most recent to oldest.

Attorney Info and Referral

This provides links to Tennessee lawyer referral services, legal aid programs, and tips on working with a lawyer.

Complaints About Attorneys

Information is available on the process for filing complaints against attorneys along with complaint forms, FAQs, and disciplinary actions.

Complaints About Judges

Instructions and forms are available for filing complaints against Tennessee judges. Reports of public disciplinary sanctions taken since 2008 are also provided.

Find an Attorney

Search or browse profiles of lawyers licensed to practice in Tennessee. Search tools include name, location, and Board of Professional Responsibility number.

Free Legal Advice and Clinics

HOTLINE provides free legal advice by phone. HELP4TN lists free legal clinics across the state and connects users with pro bono attorneys.

Tennessee Legal Aid

This directory allows searching for organizations offering free civil legal help by location and area of service. Entries include contact information, types of cases handled, and eligibility criteria.

Online Legal Answers

Volunteer attorneys provide information and basic legal advice at no cost to eligible users through the Tennessee Online Legal Answers program. Registration is required.

Email Legal Assistance

Legal information and answers to civil law questions can be obtained by email from Tennessee lawyers. Registration is required to submit questions.

Legal Clinics

Calendars provide dates and locations of upcoming free civil legal clinics across Tennessee. Clinics are also listed by county.

Tennessee Lawyers Directory

Search or browse member profiles of the Tennessee Bar Association by location and area of practice.


In summary, the Sullivan County General Sessions Court is a key component of delivering justice to the residents of Kingsport and Sullivan County. Its long history and broad jurisdiction touch many lives. The court’s focus on efficiency, affordability, and innovative programs like mental health court demonstrate its commitment to serving community needs. The Sullivan County General Sessions Court will continue promoting access and fairness under the law for all.


What types of cases does the Sullivan County General Sessions Court handle?

This court handles a wide range of matters including civil disputes up to $25,000, misdemeanor crimes, traffic violations, small claims, and preliminary felony hearings. The court’s jurisdiction is limited to civil cases and minor criminal offenses.

Who are the main officials of the Sullivan County General Sessions Court?

The judge elected by citizens of Sullivan County presides over the court and its operations. The General Sessions Clerk is responsible for administrative functions like record-keeping, scheduling, and assisting the public.

What makes the court accessible and affordable for citizens?

Features like night and weekend hours, simplified rules and procedures, waived filing fees for indigents, user-friendly forms and guidance, and alternative dispute resolution programs aim to provide citizens with easy, low-cost access to civil justice.

What is alternative dispute resolution and how is it used by the court?

ADR refers to alternatives to traditional courtroom litigation, like mediation and arbitration. These voluntary options allow parties to reach agreements or get binding resolutions faster than through a trial. ADR helps ease the court’s caseload.

What types of programs does the court offer to help offenders?

The court runs a mental health court and a veterans court focusing on rehabilitation through community treatment and resources rather than just punishment. These innovative programs address root causes to reduce recidivism.

What types of cases does the Sullivan County General Sessions Court handle?

The Sullivan County General Sessions Court – Kingsport handles misdemeanor criminal cases, civil cases under $25,000, small claims under $5,000, and traffic violations.

How can I search for court cases in Sullivan County?

Court case records from Sullivan County General Sessions Court and other county courts can be searched using the online case search tool on the Sullivan County Circuit Court Clerk website.

Where can I find court forms approved for use in Tennessee courts?

The Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts provides access to downloadable forms approved for use in General Sessions Courts and other state courts.

What are some good online resources for legal information and self-help?

East Tennessee Legal Information from Legal Aid of East TN, Tennessee Courts Self Help Center, and Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services all offer legal information by topic and links to self-help resources.

How can I file a complaint against an attorney or judge in Tennessee?

The Board of Professional Responsibility and Board of Judicial Conduct provide information on filing complaints against attorneys and judges along with the required forms.

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