MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Crime involving young people in Memphis has become a hot topic after Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton says District Attorney Steve Mulroy is to blame.
However, Mulroy says he’s confident the speaker isn’t actively trying to impeach him.
“I look forward to meeting with him,” Mulroy said. “I was talking to his chief of staff today and I believe I’ll be meeting with him in the near future.”
But Mulroy also acknowledged that there is a problem with juvenile crimes that dates back further than his tenure.
“Juvenile crime has been a problem, has been a rising problem in Shelby County for a number of years before I took office,” he said.
This comes after Sexton says Mulroy needs to take action in Shelby County dealing with matters of crimes involving the youth.
“When I talk to business owners, residents of Memphis and Shelby County, people who have invested millions of dollars as well, even pastors, there is a problem in Memphis with crime and we need law enforcement and the judicial system to do their job,” Sexton said.
When a reporter asked Sexton whether impeaching Mulroy on the table, he said, “Well I mean, the bar is high. If you cross that bar then it’s a possibility. But the bar is high because as I said you have discretion but you have to be derelict in your duty.”
Sexton also added, “Is it possible? Yes, but can you do it right now? I don’t think he’s gone to that level yet.”
Mulroy says his office has increased the number of staff in his juvenile prosecution unit, created a special unit to address vehicle thefts and burglaries, and entered into a partnership with juvenile court and a Nashville organization that uses restorative justice practices that have seen success in reducing the repeat offense rate.
“At the end of the day, the only way we’re going to tackle this problem is if we work collaboratively and that means all the local agencies in Shelby County working collaboratively and it also means us, collaborating with the state and we need to not be pointing fingers at each other,” Mulroy said.
According to the Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission, serious juvenile charges are down 8.3% this year compared to 2022, but overall, juvenile charges are up nearly 31%.