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Are courts open or closed during Corona Virus (COVID-19)?

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Since the article below was published, there have been additional extensions of the Judicial Emergency and more direction about what it means moving forward.  For More Up to Date Information about the Judicial Emergency, please click here to read our FAQ About Judicial Emergency for People Charged with a Crime.

With increased concern about the spread of COVID-19, people are wondering whether courts are open or closed during the Corona Virus.  Many people are concerned about going to crowded court rooms. This is because some of the people there might be sick and feel like they have to go to court.

With this in mind, many Georgia courts have stopped all but “essential functions” of the courts.  Some of the determination of what is an essential function comes down to the discretion of the judges in those courts.  The Georgia Supreme Court has issued an order announcing a Statewide Judicial Emergency.  According to the Supreme Court, the following are included in the list of essential functions of the courts:

  1. where an immediate liberty or safety concern is present required the attention of the court as soon as the court is available;
  2. criminal court search warrants, arrest warrants, initial appearances, and bond reviews;
  3. domestic abuse temporary protective orders and restraining orders;
  4. juvenile court delinquency detention hearings and emergency removal matters; and
  5. mental health commitment hearings.

While this list may not include every court, the Judicial Council of Georgia / Administrative Office of the Courts is working to maintain a list of court orders for courts changing their scheduling to handle the impacts of COVID-19, otherwise known as the Corona Virus.

Here are some specific court orders and memos that we’ve collected as of Monday March 16, 2020:

Updated: Given the frequent changes and orders being published by courts, it’s best to review each court’s website for the most up to date orders.  You can look here for a statewide list of court orders.

Do not miss an important court date because someone told you they heard court was closed.   Are you still wondering if particular courts are open or closed during the Corona Virus? If so, your safest approach is going to be to contact that court and ask.

Are you facing a criminal or juvenile defense related matter?  Do you want to minimize your time in court? Do you need help getting someone out of jail? Contact us to see if we can help.

 
Paul Ghanouni

Experience, Expertise

 
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