For the fourth year in a row, on October 25, 2007, Fourth Circuit Court took its entire Order of Protection docket on the road, convening at the UT College of Law, 1505 West Cumberland. It was a regular court day, beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 4:30 p.m.
This off-site presence was a joint venture of Dean John Sobieski, Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones, Clerk Martha Phillips, and Judge Swann-all working to underline October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Law School student members of the U.T. Domestic Violence Project assisted in the trial of cases under the supervision of attorney faculty member Donna Smith, shown on the left. The student members between Ms. Smith and Judge Swann are from left to right third-year students Christine Horwedel, Larry Talley, Abigail Downer, and Julie Miller.
Every aspect of the Thursday docket took place-orientation of the public, compliance reviews for required substance abuse and intervention classes, jail cases, and trials in three courtrooms. Special Masters Sarah Higgins and Timothy Elrod assisted Judge Swann in handling a full court docket.
The Sheriff provided security with eleven members of his elite SORT team, and six members of the Court Services team. The "holding cell" for the prisoners was a bus parked behind the Pan Hellenic Building. The law school went out of its way to prepare its students for this massive presence on its campus with descriptive site maps and pre-court trainings by Judge Swann and the school's faculty. Clerk Martha Phillips transported and protected the needed court files, collected court costs, received new filings, and assisted the general public and attorneys in achieving a completely "normal" day of court business.
Parking was free at the UT Student Center garage for all participants, courtesy of the College of Law.
It is fairly common for appellate courts to meet in non-traditional locations. However, this is the only known instance of a high-volume trial docket convening away from its courthouse. "It is easy," Judge Swann told reporters, "for judges to ride circuit from courthouse to courthouse. It is not easy for the courthouse to do it.