Judicial Council Actions

The Judicial Council met at the Carter Center in Atlanta on September 25, 2014.  In addition to approving Court Reporting policies and the fee schedule for court reporters, the Council tackled many important issues affecting the state’s judiciary.
Superior Court Judgeships
One recommendation for a new superior court judgeship was considered.  After reviewing caseload data, the Council approved the request for an additional judgeship in the Western Judicial Circuit.  This recommendation will be forwarded to the Governor and the General Assembly to be considered for legislative action in the 2015 session. 
Policy and Legislative Committee
Mike Cuccaro, Assistant Director for Governmental and Trial Court Liaison, reviewed several items under consideration for the 2015 General Assembly that will affect courts.  The Council voted to support: Fish and Game statute as it relates to probate court jurisdiction (OCGA § 15-9-30.3), Order to Apprehend (OCGA § 24-12-21); increase contempt penalty from $200 to $500 in magistrate court (OCGA § 15-10-2); video requirements for video conference applications for search warrants (OCGA § 17-5-21.1).  The Council tabled a proposal to provide uniform term lengths and removal protections for municipal court judges (OCGA § 36-32-2).
Other reports
• The Council was presented with a summary of the Implementation of Principles of Effective Criminal Justice Responses to the Challenges and Needs of Drug Involved Individuals (Principles) pilot project.
According to the Principles1 report, “The overall approach of this framework is to assist local criminal justice systems and practitioners do the right thing . . . with the right people . . . using the right interventions . . .at the right time.”
The pilot project framework consists of 10 operating principles that focus on what changes need to occur at the system level to address drug- involved individuals including: (i) identifying what level of substance abuse exists, (ii) what drivers contribute to the substance abusing behavior, and (iii) what level of intervention is most appropriate to break the cycle of drug-related crime.
Three circuits — Appalachian, Bell-Forsyth, and Pataula  — participated in the year-long pilot project in their accountability court programs.  Chief Justice Hugh Thompson and Mr. Franklin Cruz, Justice Management Institute, presented certificates of recognition to the judges in the participating circuits
• Justice Harold Melton presented Proposed Statewide Minimum Standards for Electronic filing on behalf of the Statewide Judiciary Civil E-Filing Steering Committee.  The standards, the purpose of which is to facilitate the development and implementation of civil E-filing in all classes of court throughout the judiciary, were adopted and became effective immediately.
New Members
The Council welcomed the following new members:

  • Judge S. Lark Ingram, Administrative Judge, 5th District
  • Judge Matthew Simmons, Administrative Judge, 6th District
  • Judge Wayne Purdom, President Elect, Council of State Court Judges
  • Judge Bob Turner, President Elect, Council of Magistrate Court Judges

The next meeting of the Judicial Council will be on December 16, 2014 at the Atlanta Sheraton Hotel.

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