Updates from the Shelby County Commission

Right on the Bluff: February 2024

A show of force

We recently had another visit from state officials focused on public safety in Memphis. They proposed a new state constitutional amendment allowing judges to deny bail for a wider variety of violent crimes.

House Speaker Cameron Sexton and Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson made the announcement at a news conference at Memphis City Hall assembled by Mayor Paul Young, Senator Brent Taylor and other members of the Shelby County state delegation from both parties.

This is one of many proposals state leaders are considering. Their concern for Shelby County is appreciated.

Criminal Court backlog

I’ve been intensely focused on the delays and backlog in our criminal courts. Very few trials are being held, and it is taking our system too long to deliver justice. I’m calling for changes to speed things up.

We recently invited retired judge Robert Carter to deliver his report on the courts’ slow pace to the public safety committee. The meeting was covered by Action News 5 and News Channel 3.

I’ve also spoken with our criminal court judges, our District Attorney, and others interested in determining what is causing these delays, and what can be done. We’ve got to get things moving again.

This was part of my most recent conversation with the Nation of Jake.

County Clerk investigation

Last issue, I had just submitted a formal complaint to assist the investigation of Shelby County Clerk Wanda Halbert.

Since then, Action News 5 took a closer look at the complaint, and I joined Memphis Morning News to discuss what it contains.

Mayor Lee Harris also spoke to the problem on WKNO’s Behind the Headlines, saying “she won’t sign anything.” And at a budget retreat, the Board of Commissioners learned that Clerk Halbert’s negligence is preventing the county’s finance department from shaping the FY25 budget proposal.

The Commercial Appeal named the controversy one of “7 issues to watch” this year.

Speaking tour

The Lakeland Chamber invited me to speak at their monthly luncheon in January. If you missed it, my remarks were picked up by Michael Waddell in the Daily Memphian.

Shelby County Republican Party Chairman Cary Vaughn also invited me to speak at this month’s meeting of the executive committee. My topic was accountability.

You can catch me later this month at the East Shelby Republican Club. I will be the guest speaker on Tuesday, February 27. The club meets at the Pickering Center in Germantown, where things get started around 6 p.m.

Upcoming meetings

Feb 5 – Commission meeting, 3 p.m.
Feb 21 – Standing committees, 8:30 a.m.
Feb 26 – Commission meeting, 3 p.m.

Book of the month

This month I am reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

Stay in touch

If you have a question or concern, email me at

You can speak with the Commission office by calling 901-222-1000.

I welcome your feedback on Facebook @CommissionerMickWright and X @mickwright.

Thanks for reading.

Mick Wright
Shelby County Commission – District 3