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The Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Judicial Processes

Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), federal and state governments have declared a national and public health emergency. As a result, and as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to issue recommendations about “social distancing” and limiting mass gatherings, various daily processes have been affected. This includes legal matters handled by the courts.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, courthouses across Georgia have determined that a judicial emergency exists. Thus, they have limited the types of matters to be handled and have closed access to the general public.

To better serve current and potential clients, at Abt Law Firm, LLC, we are continually monitoring updates from courthouses in Georgia.

Below are some of the changes for judicial proceedings:

  • The Superior Court of Gwinnett County, The Superior Court of Clayton County, The Superior Courts in the Mountain Judicial Circuit, and the U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia: Depending on the court, for the next 14 to 30 days, civil and non-essential criminal matters will not take place. However, those that can be carried out via video or teleconferencing may still proceed. No jurors or grand jurors will be summoned for service, and any current jury trials will be rescheduled for a later date.
    Essential matters that will continue to be held include:
    • Arrest and search warrants
    • First appearance hearings
    • Domestic abuse/family violence temporary protective or restraining order applications
    • Juvenile court delinquency hearings (depending on the court)
    • Mental health commitment hearings
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia: The court is still open for certain processes, including criminal matters before Magistrate judges, grand juries, hearings held by individual judges, and the Clerk’s Office and the United States Probation and Pretrial Services Office.
    Anyone who falls under the following categories will not be allowed in the court:
    • Has been exposed to or near someone exposed to COVID-19
    • Has been on a cruise within the past 14 days
    • Has been asked to self-quarantine
    • Has been diagnosed with or around someone diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Has shown symptoms of COVID-19
  • Rome Division Courthouse: Because a Court Security Officer was hospitalized after showing symptoms of COVID-19, the court is closed until further notice.

If you are involved in a criminal matter and have questions about your case or how the changes at Georgia courts will affect you, call our Atlanta lawyers at (678) 582-2272 or contact us online. Because of COVID-19, we are offering over-the-phone and video consultations.

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