Amid the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the Honorable Harold D. Melton, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia, issued an Order Declaring Statewide Judicial Emergency pursuant to OCGA § 38-3-61 on March 14, 2020.
That Order has been extended nine times in the ensuing months, most recently on December 23, 2020. Recognizing that many in-court proceedings require a myriad of individuals to attend in person at the potential expense of health and safety, the Chief Justice consulted with the Judicial Council of Georgia and other judicial partners to determine the necessity for the Order to be extended again “at least until February .”
Georgia courts have continued to execute essential functions throughout the pandemic. Courts have greatly expanded the use of remote proceedings but have also resumed a small number of in-person proceedings that could be conducted safely. In an effort to return to normal court operations, many of the deadlines on litigants in civil and criminal cases that had been suspended, tolled, or extended by law since the initial Order were reimposed on July 14, 2020, allowing a greater number of pending and newly filed cases to move forward in the judicial process. On September 10, 2020, an Order authorized the Chief Judge of each superior court, after consultation with the District Attorney, to resume grand jury proceedings – if doing so can be done safely and in compliance with public health guidance.
State laws allow the Chief Justice to extend the emergency order in 30-day increments, and with the recent rapid escalation of coronavirus cases in Georgia, the judiciary must again pull back on the resumption of jury trials.
At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients.
Our criminal defense attorneys, Patrick McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark, have combined experience of more than 30 years representing clients facing criminal charges in Georgia. For more information, or to request a case evaluation, contact our law office at 1-770-822-0900.