Update on the work for the Judicial Council of Georgia’s Standing Committee: Access, Fairness, Public Trust and Confidence

By Karlise Y. Grier

The AFPTC Committee, under the leadership of Justice Robert Benham and Justice Carol Hunstein, met most recently on May 11, 2016, and continues to work on several projects with many partners.  A summary of the projects is as follows:
(1) ADA Handbook for Courts.  The AFPTC is working on this project with Mike Galifianakis, the State ADA Coordinator for the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission.  The ADA Handbook is ready for review and comment by the full AFPTC Committee.  On June 10, 2016, a sub-committee of the AFPTC Committee will begin discussion on a supplement to the handbook specifically related to court-involved individuals with mental health issues.
(2) Municipal Court Collaboration regarding Georgia Reflections on the Ferguson report.  A sub-committee of the AFPTC Committee, led by Municipal Court Judge La Tisha Dear Jackson, is planning a summit in December on this topic with the support of CMunCJ president, Judge Leslie Spornberger Jones.  The summit will serve as a springboard for the development of a best practices handbook during Spring of 2017.  The AFPTC hopes several classes of courts will participate in the summit including municipal courts, magistrate courts, probate courts, state courts, and juvenile courts.   In the coming months, watch your court list serve for additional information.
(3)   Court Based Self-Help Programs.  Judge Robert Rodatus is leading a sub-committee on how the AFPTC can assist in educating judges about court-based self-help programs.  Judge Rodatus has held two conference calls with attorneys involved in current self-based help programs and developed a checklist of issues that arise when considering such a program.  Going forward, Judge Rodatus hopes to involve judges who have successfully implemented such programs to further develop trainings, livestreams, replication efforts, and evaluations of success. 
(4)  Council of Accountability Court Judges Collaboration.  Justice Benham wants to ensure that all populations, including people of color, are receiving information about the accountability courts.  Justice Benham also wants to ensure that accountability court judges and court personnel receive training on cultural sensitivity issues.  Judge Jason Deal, chair of the CACJ shares this vision.  Recently Justice Benham and Judge Deal met to discuss these issues and the AFPTC and CACJ will continue to share ideas and work collaboratively to ensure full inclusion by all populations in accountability courts.
(5)  In April, the AFPTC received a grant from the State Justice Institute to train judges on issues related to human trafficking.  Planning for a summit on October 6, 2016, at the Emory University School of Law is now underway.  Please watch your court’s listserve for more information on the program and registration.
You can find a full AFPTC Committee list here:http://afptc.georgiacourts.gov/content/committee-members-1 and you can find more information about the AFPTC here:  http://afptc.georgiacourts.gov/.  If you have questions or would like more information about the work of the AFPTC, please e-mail the AFPTC Committee staff attorney, Karlise Y. Grier at Karlise.grier@georgiacourts.gov.

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