Circuit Court handles both civil and criminal cases. Until 1891, all cases were heard in Jonesborough. In 1891, a sub-division of the court was opened to hear civil cases in Johnson City, helping take some of the case load off the Jonesborough court. Known as the Johnson City Law Court, this court functioned until 2007, when, with the opening of the new Justice Center, all court activities were moved once again to Jonesborough. For Law Court case files, see Record Group Series 3.6.
Records in this series are particularly useful in helping provide a picture of a society/community at a given period of history. Non-trial records include citizenship papers for both those seeking to become American citizens, as well as for a convicted felon to have citizenship rights restored. Among the types of cases found are those involving assault and battery, damages, debt, divorce, embezzlement, forgery land disputes, larceny, lewdness and adultery, murder, rape, robbery, tippling, and transporting liquor, among many other civil disputes and criminal actions. Among the types of documents found in the case files are bonds, correspondence, petitions, notices, bills, injunctions, complaints, subpoenas, depositions, exhibits, and writs. There are over 24,000 cases available to researchers.
Case files are arranged chronologically by year and then alphabetically by the plaintiff’s surname. Case files are permanent records.