City of Athens and Clarke County, GA

04/07/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/07/2020 21:02

Athens-Clarke County Courts Scale Back Court Operations until May 13

April 7 16, 2020 - On Monday, March 6, Chief Justice Harold D. Melton of the Georgia Supreme Court extended a statewide judicial emergency for an additional 30 days. Chief Justice Melton's original order noted that 'nature of this emergency is the continued transmission of Coronavirus/COVID-19 throughout the State and the potential infection of those who work in or are required to appear in our courts.' The order further states that 'courts should remain open to address essential functions, and in particular courts should give priority to matters necessary to protect health, safety, and liberty of individuals.'

In order to help minimize exposure and contacts, the courts in Athens-Clarke County and the Western Judicial Circuit will continue to scale back court-related operations through May 13. These include:

Superior Court

  • Juries and jury trials are cancelled.
  • Grand Jury is cancelled.
  • All matters not involving incarcerated individuals will be rescheduled or continued.
  • Release hearings for incarcerated individuals will be expedited.
  • Parties may request that non-essential matters be conducted via video or teleconferencing.
  • Criminal court search warrants, arrest warrants, initial appearances, and bond reviews will continue as needed.
  • Domestic abuse temporary protective orders and restraining orders will continue as needed.
  • To contact the Superior Court, call 706-613-3190.

State Court

  • Juries and jury trials are cancelled.
  • All matters not involving incarcerated individuals will be rescheduled or continued.
  • Release hearings for incarcerated individuals will be expedited.
  • Parties may request that non-essential matters be conducted via video or teleconferencing.
  • Criminal court search warrants, arrest warrants, initial appearances, and bond reviews will continue as needed.
  • To contact the State Court, call 706-613-3200.

Clerk of Court for State & Superior Courts

  • Offices are closed to the general public. The public can call 706-613-3190 from outside the door and staff will help them with their judicial emergency.
  • Access to the deed room is available in one-hour intervals. A sign up sheet is posted on the deed room door. One person will be permitted per interval, and staff will wipe down the public terminal in between each interval.
  • Real estate deeds, liens or plats may be filed online through https://efile.gsccca.org.
  • Real estate records back to 1988 may be viewed and printed at www.gsccca.org.
  • Civil cases can be e-filed through PeachCourt at https://PeachCourt.com.
  • Civil and criminal dockets are available for viewing and printing at www.athensclarkeclerkofcourt.com.
  • To contact the clerk of Court for State & Superior Court, call 706-613-3190.

Magistrate Court

  • Hearings involving incarcerated individuals at the Athens-Clarke County Jail will be held as scheduled or rescheduled within a short time.
  • All other criminal hearing and all civil hearing will be rescheduled to a hearing date on or after May 13.
  • Judges will continue to issue search warrants, arrest warrants, and hold hearings for release of inmates on bail as soon as possible.
  • Please contact Magistrate Court about weddings.
  • To contact the Magistrate Court, call the Clerk at 706-613-3310 ext. 5.

Probate Court

  • All hearings and trials except those involving liberty or safety concerns will be postponed for at least the next 30 days.
  • Mental health commitment hearings will continue as needed.
  • To contact the Probate Court, call 706-613-3320.

Juvenile Court

  • Some dependency hearings are cancelled, but not trials with specific time limits. Contact the court with questions about specific cases.
  • Children will not be transported unless specifically ordered.
  • No children will be admitted to a Regional Youth Detention Center without judicial approval.
  • Delinquency matters may be continued with consent of all parties.
  • Appearances for dependency adjudications and dispositions will be waived if consented to by all parties.
  • Foster parents, Court Appointed Special Advocates and Guardians Ad Litem may file written reports and be excused from attendance.
  • To contact the Juvenile Court, call 706-613-3300. To contact the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), call 706-369-5610. To contact Department of Family & Children Services (DFCS), call 706-227-7021.

Municipal Court

  • All Municipal Court sessions have been cancelled through May 29. All cases will be rescheduled for a later date, starting in June. All fine payments and deadlines will be extended to that new date. New notices will be mailed out to everyone. Municipal Court will text court reminders and other court updates in cases where they have a valid cell phone.
  • Individuals who have a court date during the affected time period should contact Municipal Court to reschedule.
  • Please contact the court if contact information has changed or with questions about a case. Municipal Court's phone number is 706-613-3690, but email communication is preferred. Send email to [email protected] with full name, complete mailing address, and a telephone number for receipt of text messages.
  • Contact information can also be submitted through the Court Date Reminder System enrollment form available at www.accgov.com/municipalcourt.
  • Any documents that need to be filed in a case will be addressed by appointment only.
  • Fines can be paid on line at www.athensgatix.com or by calling 855-873-9708.

Weddings

  • For parties seeking to get married at the Courthouse by a judge, the parties must contact the appropriate court. The number of attendees may be limited or the location moved to accommodate appropriate distance.

The courts will otherwise continue to operate, and all clerk offices will remain open. All emergency and time-sensitive matters will continue, such as requests for temporary protective orders. Parties are encouraged to contact the individual court to check on the status of their cases and to request a rescheduling. Note that many staff may be out to care for family members and children, so please be patient if phone lines are busy. Court and clerk staff will attempt to contact parties and return calls as quickly as possible.

Individuals who are sick or displaying symptoms are encouraged not to come to the Courthouse. Such individuals should contact the court for further guidance.

In the event that the public health emergency continues, the Chief Judge of the Superior Court and/or Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court may issue further directives to restrict, postpone or cancel court activities.

If you are represented by an attorney, contact your attorney for information. If you are represented by the Public Defender's Office, contact their office at 706-369-6440.

For additional information about individual courts, visit www.accgov.com/courts. For additional information updates about COVID-19 information and Athens-Clarke County responses and service changes, visit www.accgov.com/coronavirus.