Judicial Council Summer Meetings

Ashley G. Stollar, Communications/Outreach Specialist

The Judicial Council of Georgia met twice over the summer.
June 17, 2015
The Judicial Council met at the Sloppy Floyd Building in Atlanta on June 17, 2015. Chief Justice Hugh P. Thompson welcomed members, staff, and visitors to the meeting.  New Judicial Council member Judge Horace J. Johnson, Jr., Superior Courts, Alcovy Judicial Circuit, took the oath of service.
A special report on the Supreme Court of Georgia's Committee on Justice for Children’s Cold Case Project, which seeks to ensure legal permanency for children in state custody, was delivered by Michelle Barclay, Assistant Director, Children Families, and the Courts.
Committee Reports
The Judicial council heard reports from the Policy and Legislative Committee and the JC/AOC Director Search Committee. 
altPresiding Judge Sara Doyle presented the Strategic Planning Implementation Committee’s proposed Bylaws and research priorities for the Judicial Council.  Both items passed.
Judge Doyle, then presented nominations to the Board of Court Reporting for three new appointments which were approved.  New appointments included: Judge John Kent Edwards, Jr., State Court of Lowndes County; Cheryl D. Gilliam, Official Reporter; and Maxine Bursky, Freelance Reporter. The terms of the incumbent Board members were renewed.  Revisions to certification and training standards for realtime reporting services offered in Georgia courts were unanimously approved.
Judge Brenda Weaver, Chair of the Judicial Council Accountability Courts Committee, reported on the transitioning of work to the new Council of Accountability Court Judges.
Justice Harold Melton updated the Council on the budget, and also reported that the Statewide Judiciary Civil E-Filing Steering Committee selected the National Center for State Courts to provide consulting services relating to a new e-filing portal.
Director’s Report
Interim Director Cynthia Clanton reported on the changes occurring within the AOC and the agency’s ongoing services to the judiciary.
Prior to adjourning the meeting, several outgoing members were presented with Certificates of Appreciation for their dedicated service on the Judicial Council including Judge Mary Staley, Judge  Kathlene Gosselin, Judge Charles Wynne, Judge J. Lane Bearden and Judge E.R. Lanier. Chief Judge Herbert Phipps, Court of Appeals, and Judge Allen Wigington were thanked in absentia.

August 6, 2015
altThe Judicial Council met at the Loudermilk Center in Atlanta on August 6, 2015. Chief Justice Hugh P. Thompson welcomed members, staff, and visitors to the meeting.  Several new Judicial Council members took the oath of service, including Judge Stephen Dillard, Court of Appeals; Judge Melodie Snell Conner, Superior Court, Gwinnett Judicial Circuit; Judge Richard A. Slaby, State Court of Richmond County; Judge Benjamin P. Brinson, Juvenile Courts, Atlantic Judicial Circuit; and Judge Gary E. Jackson, Municipal Court of Atlanta.
Two special reports were delivered to the Judicial Council to start off the meeting.  Justice Keith Blackwell gave a report on behalf of the the Supreme Court Commission on Interpreters. Justice Blackwell discussed the “Working with Deaf or Hard of Hearing Persons and Sign Language Interpreters in the Courtroom” bench card which was distributed to all members. The bench card explains the law on providing sign language interpreters, credentials of interpreters, as well as best practices for interacting with deaf or hard of hearing persons.
Mr. Gerald Bruce explained the Juvenile Justice Exchange. The project will establish a statewide juvenile justice repository within the AOC's server environment to allow for all juvenile courts to readily comply with the established risk and needs assessment instruments required by Georgia Statute. Further, the completed Repository will allow for sharing of data between Juvenile Courts statewide and provide for individual court and statewide court reporting of the status of juvenile offender caseloads.
Committee Reports
Justice Harold Melton reported on the status of the Supreme Court Statewide Judiciary Civil E-Filing Steering Committee which will be disbanded. In its place, a Judicial Council Standing Committee on Technology will be created to provide statewide technology governance for Georgia’s courts.  Judge Stephen Dillard will join the Technology Committee as a voice for the Court of Appeals.
Justice Melton also presented the budgets for AFY16 and FY17. After some discussion, both budgets were passed.
Presiding Justice Harris Hines presented potential legislative items on behalf of the Policy and Legislative Committee for the 2016 Session of the General Assembly.
Presiding Justice Hines then reported on the progress of the search for the new AOC Director.
Director’s Report
Interim Director Cynthia Clanton gave an update on the work of the AOC including the launch of a newly-designed website, the support given to the Council of Probate Court Judges after the US Supreme Court’s decision on same sex marriage, and staff reassignments. See Interim Director's report here.
The next Judicial Council meeting will be held on September 30 at the Macon Marriott City Center in Macon, GA.

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