Georgia Supreme Court Suspends Jury Trials as of December 23, 2020

Those who have been following the Judicial Emergency Orders that have been issued by the Georgia Supreme Court since March are aware that jury trials were suspended, but expected to resume in January in many courts.

However, on December 23, 2020, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a modification to the Ninth Judicial Emergency Order (the current order running from December 9, 2020, through January 8, 2021).  The Order Modifying Ninth Order Extending Declaration of Statewide Judicial Emergency took a step back from the prior orders and prohibited new jury trials from beginning.  The modification order says that the “suspension of in-person jury trial proceedings is anticipated to continue until at least February.”

For those who are wondering why the court took this step, Chief Justice Melton of the Georgia Supreme Court is quoted as saying:

“The recent surge in this deadly virus has required us to slow down the effort to resume jury trials and to rethink other in-person proceedings in Georgia … We are hopeful that with the advent of vaccines and their widespread availability, the end of the virus is in sight and sometime in the coming months, we will be able to return to a robust schedule of jury trials and all court functions. But now is not the time for full-blown operations.”

What does this mean for those with pending Georgia Criminal Cases?

Depending on where your case is in the criminal justice process it could mean potential delays.  However, you shouldn’t assume it means a delay for your case.  There are many other types of court hearings that are still taking place.  This includes both remotely and in-person that comply with the Supreme Court’s guidance on how court proceedings should be conducted.

If you have a pending criminal or traffic case in Georgia, don’t wait to get representation.  Acting now means your defense team has more time to prepare your case.  Contact our office for a complimentary defense strategy meeting by calling 770-720-6336.