General Sessions Court

Perry County Court Clerk's Office now has online court records.  Visit, select Perry County and use the Search feature on the site.

This site is not intended to provide legal advice, but a road map through the court system in Perry County.  Call Circuit Court Clerk for further information 931-589-2218
or Chancery Court Clerk & Master 931-589-2217. 


General Sessions Court, Judge Moore Presiding


General Sessions Court

Presided over by Judge Katerina V. Moore, General Sessions and Juvenile Court Jurisdiction

The kind of cases handled by General Sessions Court varies from county to county.  While there may be differences between counties, the General Sessions Court in Perry County handles civil cases, that involve no more than $25,000.  Higher than $25,000, the civil case is handled in Circuit Court.  In addition, Judge Moore presides over Juvenile Court.  

It has been agreed upon Linden and Lobelville municipal court would go to General Sessions Court, eliminating the need for a separate court for the towns in Perry County.  The types of cases heard by General Sessions Court are:

  • Civil - less than $25,000
  • Misdemeanors
  • Criminal cases, arraignments, with limitations

These guidelines are to assist people who represent themselves in court and to help any and all lay people (non-lawyers) who wish to have more guidance on what will happen in court and how to be better prepared for court.

General Sessions Courts have been encouraged by the Tennessee Supreme Court’s “Access to Justice Commission” to create guidelines assisting non-lawyers who have cases in court. This includes people who represent themselves and other lay people who may have lawyers but desire helpful information about appearing in court.

You are encouraged to use a lawyer for help when possible. Lawyers have legal training and experience in appearing before a judge. You may qualify for free legal aid.


What is an arraignment?

General Sessions Court is a court of first entry.  Any misdemeanor will come to General Sessions Court.  And any felonies, for which defendants were arrested, come to General Sessions Court.  The defendant will be advised of the charges and asked to plead guilty or not guilty.  Most arraignments in Tennessee are held in General Sessions Court.  The indictments go through Grand Juries for Circuit Court.

Civil Cases

As a court of first entry, General Sessions Court handles certain kinds of civil cases that do not involve more than a certain dollar amount, anything less than $25,000.  Anything over that goes to Circuit Court for adjudication.  


Misdemeanors are handled from beginning to end in General Sessions.  

Probation, based on misdemeanors, will be handled in General Sessions.  There are different ways a misdemeanor can be resolved.  A case is either dismissed, or you're found guilty.  If guilty, you either go to jail, jail and probation, or you can have strictly probation.  The case can be retired, or you can have diversion.  There are many variations of what can happen.

Criminal Cases

For criminal cases, General Sessions Court has authority over:

  • Preliminary hearings or arraignments for felony cases, and
  • Misdemeanor trials IF the defendant gives up his right to a grand jury investigation and trial by jury in a higher court.


Retirement is when the State decides not to prosecute the case at the moment for various reasons.  The State could say they are going to retire a case for six months or until a certain date down the road.  Then there may be four or five requirements for the defendant to accomplish in a particular time period.  They might be required to have a mental evaluation, drugs or mental health, or required to complete traffic school or an anger management course.  If they follow all the requirements particular to their case in the set time period, and complete them successfully, the case will be dismissed, which means it will also be expunged from their record.  But if they have failed to do as instructed, the case can still be prosecuted.  The defendant is being given a shot at a second chance before the State decides to prosecute.  

Judicial Diversion

The defendant might not be offered Retirement because their case is pretty serious, but they might be offered Diversion.  Diversion makes it resolved with the opportunity for the defendant to expunge the record after the fact if they follow all the conditions of probation.   The best way to describe it is, a conditional plea out.  This person is going on probation, they are going to have a finding of guilt if they don't complete diversion so it's like a post-probation dismissal.  If they don't follow the rules, the guilty plea goes down.  So their case at this point is resolved.  Retirement keeps it open; it's not resolved.  Diversion makes it resolved with the opportunity for the defendant to expunge it after the fact if they follow all the rules of probation.  Retirement might not be offered to a defendant because their case is pretty serious, but they might be offered diversion because it's their first offense, and it's qualifiable for diversion because it's basically a way to make the defendant realize the seriousness of their behavior, keep them responsible, but yet help them get their record clean if they complete all the conditions of diversion.  If they fail to do as instructed, then it's  a guilty finding without having to have a trial or anything else on the backend.  

Felony defendants who are arrested come first to General Sessions for arraignment, but indictments come from the Grand Jury, and the cases are then heard in Circuit Court. Let's say someone is arrested with enough meth to make it a felony.  They will come to General Sessions first because they possess enough meth to make it a felony, and there will be some other offense that is a misdemeanor.  Together they come as a package deal.  

Misdemeanor and Felony Package

Misdemeanors come to General Sessions Court, but could come as a package to General Sessions first with a charge of a felony.  For instance, say someone gets in a fight and someone used a deadly weapon.  That person will be charged with aggravated assault, which is a felony.  They will be given a warrant and go before General Sessions, Judge Katerina Moore.  The felony cannot be resolved in General Sessions as far as a trial is concerned, but the defendant can be arraigned, and given an opportunity to get a court appointed counsel for the purposes of discussing bail if they are still in jail, or having a preliminary hearing for the issues of probable cause.

Probable Cause Hearings

They could come in and say they were not the aggressor, but they were arrested and state there was no reason to arrest them and charge them because there was a reason why the fight happened.  So a probable cause hearing will be scheduled with General Sessions.  Or they might say, "I wasn't even involved, but was there and arrested along with everybody.  There were 3 of us in the bar, and I got arrested.  I wasn't even touching anyone."  He is literally saying, "Prove to me there is probable cause to charge me with that versus Joe Blow over there."  And that hearing will be held before the General Sessions Court.

As a result of a probable cause hearing, two things can happen.  Either the judge will find there is probable cause for the charge, which means the felony charge will travel to Circuit Court through first the Grand Jury, or there is no probable cause.  And if that happens, then there is no case against the defendant unless the District Attorney later decides to to take it directly to the Grand Jury, bypassing the decision of the General Sessions judge.


That is the full extent of what the General Sessions Court can do with a felony offense, unless the charge gets reduced to a misdemeanor.  For instance, the felony offense of aggravated assault gets reduced to a simple assault, then the case can be resolved in General Sessions.  Not every felony stays a felony, but every felony that stays a felony goes to Circuit Court for resolution.


Perry County Circuit Court Clerk:
121 Main St., Linden TN 37096
(931) 589-2218


Perry County Chancery Court Clerk & Master:
121 Main St., Linden TN 37096
(931) 589-2217


Perry County Sheriff's Office:
582 Bethel Rd., Linden TN 37096
(931) 589-8803

courts system in Perry County

 The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.  All information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.


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