Judge W. Fletcher Sams, one of four members of the Griffin Judicial Circuit Court, told the Fayette County Board of Commissioners that a fifth judge was “desperately” needed. Courtesy Fayette County Bar Association

Fayette supports adding fifth circuit judge

Fayette County will endorse an effort to ask the state to add a fifth judge to the Griffin Judicial Circuit Court next year, based on an analysis that says the circuit’s increasing caseload qualifies it (for the third year in a row) for another judge.

The Board of Commissioners voted 4-0-1 (with Charles Rousseau abstaining) on July 26 to support the additional judge, which would serve Fayette as well as Spalding, Upson and Pike counties. Although the state funds judicial positions, the counties in the circuit pay an annual supplement for related staffing costs, including clerks. Fayette’s portion for adding a fifth judge would be approximately $33,000.

However, because the state also has the option of splitting the Griffin circuit into two jurisdictions in the future, the commission also agreed to form a committee to study the effects of a possible split.

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