News

Actions

Tennessee Justice Bus rolls out free legal assistance across the state

justice bus.jpeg
Posted at 9:07 PM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-14 06:38:03-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — Nearly 50 people were able to get free legal help thanks to The Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission's newest initiative.

The Tennessee Justice Bus launched last month.

The Tenessee Justice Bus is a mobile law office that brings technology to rural and underserved communities. It's a passenger van outfitted with computers, tablets, a printer, internet access, video displays, WiFi and other office supplies. Lawyers and other volunteers will be able to provide on-the-spot access to legal help and meet Tennesseans where they are.

Zachary Polen says he's excited to be part of this new legal initiative.

The future lawyer and current special projects coordinator with Access to Justice is happy to help people turn their lives around.

"We can help with eviction issues; we can help with family issues, divorces. We can help with employment issues, wrongful termination, things of that nature," Polen said.

And the list goes on.

"We can help with debtor-creditor issues, so if you're in a ton of debt, we can help you out with that. We can also help along with expungement clinics; we can help with voter rights restoration, driver's license restoration, things like that," Polen said.

The legal help is free to anyone in the state regardless of income.

The Access to Justice Commission plans to use the TN Justice Bus to strengthen its partnership with the Tennessee equal justice community.

Tennessee’s legal aid providers handle a variety of civil issues such as evictions, debt and credit issues, unfair labor practices, family law and domestic violence, and employment law.

"We thought it would be a great opportunity to build our own justice bus where we can bring these legal services and online portals to residents of Tennessee, particularly targeting some rural communities that don't necessarily have the resources available," said Polen.

In 2009, the State Supreme Court set up a statewide Access to Justice Commission focused on providing needs to people across the state in civil matters who cannot afford legal representation.

This bus will help staff reach far more people needing legal help.

Part of the Rutherford County Expungement Clinic on June 29 the Justice Bus helped expunge nearly 50 records, with legal help provided to another 25.

The Tennessee Justice Bus will be at the Murfreesboro Community Resource Center next Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 640 Broadmor Blvd., Murfreesboro.

Lawyers and volunteers will be onsite to provide free on-the-spot access to legal help.

Staff said that if you would like to request the bus to come to an event, you can email them at JusticeBus@tncourts.gov.