Cobb residents will receive an update within the next week about court operations in the county, with Georgia’s chief justice indicating he is likely to extend the current statewide judicial emergency until the second week in June.
Chief Justice Harold Melton announced Monday he will extend for another month the judicial emergency, currently due to expire May 13 after initially being implemented March 14 and extended for a first time in April.
Melton planned to sign the second extension order later this week, per a news release from the Supreme Court of Georgia, which means no criminal or civil jury trials will occur before June 12, the planned expiry date of the emergency extension.
In Cobb County, the judicial circuit has been conducting around 20% of its normal operations as a result of the restrictions in place to address the coronavirus pandemic. Most staff are working from 乐乐棋牌, with a skeleton crew still stationed in the court buildings in Marietta.
Cobb Superior Court Chief Judge Reuben Green said he is waiting for Melton’s order about extending the judicial emergency before he determines which court operations in Cobb County can resume, when, and how.
“The chief justice’s order will likely come out towards the end of the week or early next week,” Green told the MDJ Tuesday. “As soon as it has come out, then I will issue a memorandum explaining what we will be doing in Cobb Superior and Juvenile Court during the next month.”
Melton said under the judicial emergency, courts across the state are barred from selecting and implementing juries, per social distancing requirements, so no trials can be held.
“The courts are different from most private establishments and public places in that we compel people to attend court proceedings, and that requires us to be extra cautious,” Melton said.
The judicial emergency requires all courts to be open for critical and essential services, and Melton said of the emergency extension that chief judges of judicial circuits will be able to impose more restrictive measures if they see fit based on local conditions.
Courts will also be instructed by the order extension to use technology where possible to limit in-person proceedings in order to work through the expected backlog of cases once the judicial emergency lifts, and to develop and implement plans for conducting both in-person and remote court operations going forward.
“The chief justice will create a special task force to assist courts in conducting remote proceedings and to develop plans for the safe resumption of more extensive in-court proceedings, including jury trials and grand jury proceedings,” the Supreme Court of Georgia stated in a news release.
Melton’s task force is set to include judges representing every class of court, who will obtain input from prosecutors, public defenders, civil trial attorneys, court clerks and sheriffs, per the Supreme Court.