Jury trials can resume in Rabun County beginning in October

  • Photo from Unsplash.
    Photo from Unsplash.

Harold Melton, Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, in his Sixth Order Extending Declaration of Statewide Judicial Emergency, provides that jury trials, which have been prohibited since March 14, 2020, will be permitted to resume in October 2020. 

The Chief Justice has established a task force which has issued guidelines for jury trials, including requirements that social distancing and face-coverings be used, that the number of jurors present at one time for jury selection be limited, and that provisions be made for the sanitization of the courtrooms and common areas of the courthouses. 

The Chief Justice’s most recent Statewide Declaration of Judicial Emergency also requires that the Chief Judge of each circuit establish a COVID-19 jury committee in each county for the purpose of developing guidelines and procedures for jury trials tailored to their specific courtrooms, courthouses, and facilities. The duty of each committee is to create local guidelines to safeguard the health and safety of all persons involved, while protecting the Constitutional Rights of the parties (including the accused in Criminal Cases), and meeting the requirements of law regarding public access and open courtrooms. 

Members of the Rabun County COVID-19 Jury Committee established by order of Chief Superior Court Judge Russell W. Smith and Superior Court Judge B. Chan Caudell are as follows: 

-Hon. Russell W. Smith, Chief Judge of Superior Court – Committee Chair 

-Mr. George Christian, District Attorney 

-Mr. Drew Powell, Chief Public Defender 

-Ms. Holly Henry-Perry, Clerk of Superior Court 

-Mr. Chad Nichols, Rabun County Sheriff 

-L. Allyn Stockton, Jr., Attorney, Stockton & Stockton, LLC 

-R. Bruce Russell, Jr., Attorney, Russell & Russell, P.C. -

-Dr. Pamela Logan, Director, Georgia Department of Public Health, District 2