General Sessions Judge
Branden Bellar is a native of Smith County. Judge Bellar graduated from Gordonsville High School in 1988, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1991, and the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphries School of Law in 1995. Judge Bellar’s legal career began in 1995 under the guidance of his father as a second-generation attorney with whom he worked for several years. In recent years, Judge Bellar has worked with his wife at his own law firm of Bellar & Bellar located in Carthage, Tennessee. Throughout his legal career, Judge Bellar has served a multitude of individuals, families, churches, small businesses, corporations, and local governments. Until August 7, 2020, Judge Bellar worked as the Smith County Attorney. Branden Bellar was appointed as Smith County General Sessions Judge on August 31, 2020 filling a judicial vacancy of an unexpired term of office. Judge Bellar’s dedication toward service, hard work, and his standard of excellence have been his trademark throughout his career.
General Sessions Court
The Smith County General Sessions Court has Civil, Criminal, and Juvenile subject matter jurisdiction.
The General Sessions Court may hear civil cases and decide matters up to a $25,000.00 monetary limit whether in law or equity.
With regard to criminal matters, the Smith County General Sessions may hear and decide any criminal offense upon the merits of the case where the penalty is limited to a misdemeanor crime or up to the maximum offense of eleven (11) months twenty-nine (29) days in jail.
Felony matters may be heard on preliminary hearing basis or bound over to the Smith County Grand Jury.
The Smith County Juvenile Court is co-extensive with the General Sessions Court.
All Juvenile Justice and Dependency and Neglect proceedings are carried out in the Smith County Juvenile Court.
The Smith County General Sessions Court also handles traffic offenses.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the General Sessions Court schedule?
CIVIL MATTERS – 2nd Tuesday of each month @ 1 PM
CRIMINAL MATTERS – Every Thursday of each month (except for the 5th Thursday in certain months) @ 9 AM
JAIL DOCKET / BOND HEARINGS – Every Wednesday @ 8 AM
JUVENILE COURT – 4th Tuesday of each month (except for the 5th Tuesday in certain months) @ 9 AM
JUVENILE JUSTICE – 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month @ 9 AM
MISDEMEANOR RECOVERY COURT PROGRAM – Every Wednesday @ 9 AM
TRAFFIC COURT – 2nd Tuesday of each month @ 9 AM
*** All court times begin promptly at 9 AM with the exception as stated above. ***
322 Justice Drive
Carthage, TN 37030