GA Supreme Court extends COVID-19 judicial emergency

The Nathan Deal Judicial Center, which houses the Georgia Supreme Court. Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com
The Nathan Deal Judicial Center, which houses the Georgia Supreme Court. Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com

The Georgia Supreme Court on Friday extended the judicial emergency that was put in place during the coronavirus pandemic and led to the suspension of jury trials and many nonessential court functions, including eviction hearings.

The emergency order was reissued just hours before it was set to expire last week. It now extends until midnight on Sunday, July 12.

“[T]he Judicial Covid19 Task Force is developing policies, procedures, and templates to allow the safe resumption of jury trials and grand jury proceedings,” the order reads. “These materials should be available in July 2020, but it is unlikely that any jury proceedings will begin until August or later.”

The new order also included a plan to reimpose many of the deadlines for civil and criminal cases that have been suspended since the emergency first went into effect in March.

Most deadlines will be reimposed as of July 14. For cases that were pending, litigants will have the same amount of time to file after this date that they had when the order took effect.

For cases filed during the judicial emergency, the clock starts running on July 14.

In addition, each court must comply with public health guidelines, which should be posted at the courthouse and online.

Local jurisdictions retain the discretion to impose more restrictive emergencies, as well as to determine which court functions are considered essential.