Pike County Times

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PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. You can donate through PayPal at the link on the bottom of the page. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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The Wheels Keep Turning
By Guest Columnist Marie Broder, District Attorney for the Griffin Judicial Circuit

GRIFFIN - I hope everyone is continuing to stay safe and healthy. As our Governor has begun to announce plans to reopen the State, many of you may be wondering how the pandemic has and will continue to affect our justice system. I challenged my employees to keep working and they impressed me with their resilience and determination during this time. We reduced office hours, worked from home, and drastically limited staff in the office. Despite these changes, I am here to tell you that our office has been working to protect your community in two ways.

First, our office is eliminating a “backlog.” We strive to make sure that the time between when a crime is committed and when that case is resolved by either a plea or a trial is as short as possible. Unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of cases handled by our office, and the time our attorneys spend in court, we have cases that take longer than we would like to push through the judicial process. Now, with the reduced time spent in the courtroom, our office has been working from home to review cases and tackle the “backlog.” I am proud to say that our staff has worked diligently over the past few weeks to make unprecedented progress in reducing the backlog and when we return to “business as usual,” we will be as far ahead of the game as we’ve ever been.

The second way our office has continued to protect this community is by attending court hearings using new technologies. Before the pandemic, holding a court hearing could involve a room of over 100 people. Now, every member in the judicial process has switched to the unprecedented use of “virtual” court. The Judge, Court Reporter, Clerk’s representative, defendant, defense counsel, and prosecutor all attend “court” through a videoconference. The defendant’s rights are protected and the State is given an opportunity to keep dangerous criminals incarcerated. Although the process might be different from the norm, we are still fighting for our communities.

I am proud to work with our Judges, Clerks, Law Enforcement, and Defense Attorneys to keep the wheels of justice moving in these difficult times. You all focus on your health and your families, knowing that we will continue to protect and serve with every tool at our disposal. Stay safe and be kind to each other.

Submitted 5.2.20