2020 Tennessee Code
Title 16 - Courts
Chapter 15 - Courts of General Sessions
Part 3 - Clerk
§ 16-15-303. General Sessions Court Clerk

Universal Citation: TN Code § 16-15-303 (2020)
  1. A general sessions court clerk shall:
    1. Retain, preserve and file away in order, and properly mark for easy reference all the papers in civil cases before them, unless returned or transmitted, in pursuance of law, to the circuit court upon appeal or otherwise;
    2. Transmit all the papers relative to the trial of a cause in which an appeal has been taken to the circuit court at least five (5) days before the term to which the appeal is returnable, unless the appeal is taken within the five (5) days, and then on, or by the first day of, the term;
    3. Transmit copies of such papers in the same way, in cases where only a portion of the parties have appealed;
    4. Return such papers, when an execution has been levied on real estate of the defendant, to the circuit court, on or before the second day of the term next after the levy; and
    5. Not issue an alias or pluries execution until the execution previously issued is returned, or affidavit made accounting for its absence, and a showing that it is unsatisfied.
  2. A general sessions court clerk shall keep, in a well-bound book, properly ruled for that purpose, a docket of all judgments rendered by the court, showing in whose favor and against whom each judgment is rendered, the names of the parties in full, and the date and amount of the judgment.
    1. A general sessions court clerk shall also keep, in the same book, an execution docket, showing the amount of each execution, in whose favor and against whom issued, the date of issuance, to whom delivered, the date of return and by whom returned, and the substance of the return, specifying particularly whether satisfied in whole or in part.
    2. The general sessions court clerk shall enter in the execution docket, in continuous order, and in distinct columns, with proper date to each act:
      1. The number of each case;
      2. The date of trial, and of each continuance, if any;
      3. The names of the parties in full;
      4. The amount of the judgment;
      5. The name of the stayor, if any;
      6. The name of the officer who returns the warrant;
      7. The date of the issuance of each execution, and to whom delivered;
      8. The bill of costs, the items written in words, with the amounts in figures; and
      9. The date of the return of the execution, by whom returned, and the substance of the return.
  3. A substantial compliance with the requirements of this section is sufficient to render the proceedings and entries valid for all purposes, so far as the parties are concerned, and all persons claiming under them.
  4. It is a Class C misdemeanor for a clerk to fail to keep the docket of judgments rendered and an execution docket, as required by subsections (b) and (c). Conviction under this section is grounds for removal under title 8, chapter 47. In addition, a person injured by the failure of a general sessions court clerk to preserve and keep the clerk's papers or dockets may recover civil damages pursuant to the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act, compiled in  title 29, chapter 20.
    1. Any information required to be kept as a public record by a clerk of a court of general sessions may be maintained on a computer or removable computer storage media in lieu of docket books or other bound books; provided, that the following standards are met:
      1. The information is available for public inspection, unless it is a confidential record according to law;
      2. Due care is taken to maintain the information as a public record during the time required by law for retention;
      3. All daily data generated and stored within the computer system shall be copied to computer storage media daily, and the newly created computer storage media more than one (1) week old shall be stored at a location other than at the building where the original is maintained; and
      4. The clerk can provide a paper copy of the information when needed or when requested by a member of the public.
    2. Nothing in subdivision (f)(1) shall be construed as requiring the clerk to sell the media upon which the information is stored or maintained.
    1. As used in this subsection (g):
      1. “Adjudication as a mental defective or adjudicated as a mental defective” means:
        1. A determination by a court in this state that a person, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, mental illness, incompetency, condition or disease:
          1. Is a danger to such person or to others; or
          2. Lacks the ability to contract or manage such person's own affairs due to mental defect;
        2. A finding of insanity by a court in a criminal proceeding; or
        3. A finding that a person is incompetent to stand trial or is found not guilty by reason of insanity pursuant to §§ 50a and 72b of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, codified in 10 U.S.C. §§ 850a, 876b;
      2. “Judicial commitment to a mental institution” means a judicially ordered involuntary admission to a private or state hospital or treatment resource in proceedings conducted pursuant to title 33, chapter 6 or 7;
      3. “Mental institution” means a mental health facility, mental hospital, sanitarium, psychiatric facility and any other facility that provides diagnoses by a licensed professional of mental retardation or mental illness, including, but not limited to, a psychiatric ward in a general hospital;
      4. “Treatment resource” means any public or private facility, service or program providing treatment or rehabilitation services for mental illness or serious emotional disturbance, including, but not limited to, detoxification centers, hospitals, community mental health centers, clinics or programs, halfway houses and rehabilitation centers.
    2. In addition to the duties prescribed in this part, the clerks of the general sessions courts wherein commitments to a mental institution are ordered pursuant to title 33, chapter 6 or 7 or persons are adjudicated as a mental defective shall collect and report as soon as practicable, but no later than the third business day following the date of such an order or adjudication, information described in subsection (c) regarding individuals who have been adjudicated as a mental defective or judicially committed to a mental institution after a finding of probable cause pursuant to § 33-6-422 for the purposes of complying with the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, P.L. 110-180.
    3. The following information shall be collected and reported to the federal bureau of investigation-NICS Index and the department of safety, pursuant to subdivision (g)(2):
      1. Complete name and all aliases of the individual judicially committed or adjudicated as a mental defective, including, but not limited to, any names that the individual may have had or currently has by reason of marriage or otherwise;
      2. Case or docket number of the judicial commitment or the adjudication as a mental defective;
      3. Date judicial commitment ordered or adjudication as a mental defective was made;
      4. Private or state hospital or treatment resource to which the individual was judicially committed;
      5. Date of birth of the individual judicially committed or adjudicated as a mental defective, if such information has been provided to the clerk;
      6. Race and sex of the individual judicially committed or adjudicated as a mental defective; and
      7. Social security number of the individual judicially committed or adjudicated as a mental defective if available.
    4. The information in subdivisions (g)(3)(A)–(G), the confidentiality of which is protected by other statutes or regulations, shall be maintained as confidential and not subject to public inspection pursuant to such statutes or regulations, except for such use as may be necessary in the conduct of any proceeding pursuant to §§ 38-6-109, 39-17-1316, and 39-17-1352 — 39-17-1354.
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