Criminal and civil trial suspensions to continue

  • Chief Justice Harold Melton announced Monday that he will sign an order  this week extending the emergency from May 13, the current expiration  date, until June 12.
    Chief Justice Harold Melton announced Monday that he will sign an order this week extending the emergency from May 13, the current expiration date, until June 12.
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From Capitol Beat

 

Georgia’s coronavirus-prompted judicial emergency is about to be

extended for another month.

 

Chief Justice Harold Melton announced Monday that he will sign an order

this week extending the emergency from May 13, the current expiration

date, until June 12.

 

All criminal and civil jury trials will continue to be suspended, and

courts will be barred from summoning and impaneling new trial and grand

juries.

 

While Georgia businesses are gradually reopening following Gov. Brian

Kemp’s lifting of his shelter-in-place order late last week, Melton said

the courts are different from most private establishments and public places.

 

“We compel people to attend court proceedings, and that requires us to

be extra cautious,” he said.

 

Since Melton issued the first judicial emergency order in mid-March,

courts have remained open to handle critical and essential court services.

 

Under the new extension order, courts will be urged to develop plans for

restoring non-critical operations that can be conducted remotely by

videoconferencing or by maintaining adherence to public health

guidelines. Increasing the use of remote judicial proceedings where

legally permitted is aimed at limiting the backlog once the emergency

order is ended.

 

The state Supreme Court has set an example by starting to hold hearings

via remote videoconferencing.

 

Melton has created a special task force to help courts conduct remote

proceedings and develop plans for the safe resumption of more extensive

in-court proceedings, including jury trials and grand jury proceedings.

 

The task force will include judges from every category of courts, civil

trial lawyers, court clerks and sheriffs.