Judicial Council Actions

The Judicial Council met at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta on April 12, 2013. With a backdrop of dinosaur skeletons and artifacts, Chief Justice Carol W. Hunstein called the meeting to order.  Approximately 50 guests were in attendance.
 
Two special guests were introduced:  Representative Mary Margaret Oliver (D-82), and Senator Josh McKoon (R-29).  Chief Justice Hunstein thanked the legislators for their support of the judiciary during the 2013 Session of the General Assembly.  Both legislators noted that budget and revenue issues continue to be very much at the fore-front for the General Assembly.
 
Judges listen to Judge Mary Jo Buxton report.Presiding Justice Thompson thanked the Judicial Council and judges across the state for coming together very effectively in this year’s legislative endeavors.  The presidents of the various councils gave summaries of legislation affecting their courts and the outcomes including the contempt bill, Juvenile Justice Reform, SB 120 (prosecutors in probate courts), HB 146 (good behavior and search warrants).
 
Judge David Emerson reported on the across-the-board 1% and 1.5% budget reductions for the Judicial Council for AFY13 and FY14, respectively.  Judge Brenda Weaver reported that the Accountability Court Committee continues its work on the peer review and certification processes for felony drug and mental health courts as well as drafting treatment standards for felony mental health court, family dependency treatment, juvenile, and DUI courts. She also related that the Annual Accountability Courts Conference would take place in May.
 
Judge Linda Cowen reviewed the Special Committee on Court Reporting Fees and Processes recommendations and suggested implementation steps for application of the Official Fee Schedule, format and page rate, taking down and transcribing court proceedings, documentation of evidence, and electronic/digital reporting among other topics.  [Insert link to Recommendations]
 
A report from the AOC Director,Marla S. Moore, detailed the many projects and programs the AOC has worked on since the previous meeting.  The Governmental and Trial Court Liaison staff, she reported, shifts its focus away from the recently completed legislative session to work with and attend the meetings of the judges’ councils.  Other important updates included the progress of the annual workload assessment, her attendance at the Council of Language Access Coordinators, and the recognition by the House and Senate of the Judicial Council’s and Administrative Office of the Court’s 40 year history.
 
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On June 14, 2013, the Judicial Council met at the State Bar of Georgia to approve standards for accountability courts.   Standards for Adult Drug Courts, Juvenile Drug Courts, Mental Health Courts, and Family Dependency Treatment Courts were approved. Also approved were the FY 2014 Adult Drug Court Certification Application and the FY 2014 Mental Health Court Certification Application. 
 
Additionally, the Judicial Council voted to allow the Budget Committee the authority to handle budgetary matters on behalf of the Judicial Council between meetings and during the 2014 Legislative Session.

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