To respond to COVID-19 courthouses across the state are limiting services.
Last week the Georgia Supreme Court declared a statewide judicial emergency, asking courts to limit services to protect the public. But local courts have some discretion when deciding which services they’ll continue to offer.
“It’s really going to bring everything to a standstill,” said Georgia State law professor Jessica Cino. She explained there’s already a backlog of cases in many judicial systems, so stopping jury trials and hearings will have a big impact. “Now you’re talking about dramatic delays going forward that are going to have repercussions months, if not for well over a year.”
What specific services are interrupted vary county to county. The supreme court says essential functions to protect health, safety and liberty-- like arrest warrants and first appearances-- will continue. You will need to call ahead to see if your courthouse is offering services like marriage license or weapons permits.
“A lot of it is still up in the air and we’re in that phase of people trying to figure this out,” Cino said.
Many metro courts are asking folks to delay applying for marriage licenses, or other court business if it can wait.
But many Georgians may not feel an impact. “For the average person this probably isn’t going to have a big factor in their day to day lives,” Cino said.
Channel 2 learned many probate courts across the metro are limiting services like weapons permits and marriage serves. Check your county to see what your local court is offering: